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The Work

Advertising is the business of reaching out to groups of people with intent to either influence their acceptance or purchase of an idea, product or service or impart information regarding a vacancy, event or activity.


These vary in size and scope. The largest may have an annual billing approximating Rs 200
crore and employ upto 300 people while the smallest could be staffed by less than twenty people with a turnover of a few lakh rupees. At least thirteen Indian agencies are affiliated to international firms. The range of services undertaken in house depends on the agency's size and infrastructure. Some leading companies have set up separate departments to handle specialized areas like market research and film and video production. Where such facilities do not exist the work is sub-contracted to external consultants or suppliers. Some, though not many, agencies concentrate on specific areas, such as recruitment or financial advertising.


All advertising agencies are, however, equipped to plan, create and launch a campaign. Successful advertising depends on the creative interaction of a number of disciplines. Experts from each area involved must therefore work closely together as a team within an advertising agency. Their major operational departments are:

Client Servicing

Responsible for liaising between the client and agency. Client servicing personnel meet with and are briefed on a client's requirements. They must understand the problem and look at the product from a consumer's viewpoint. They transmit this information clearly to other departments involved;
control campaign budgets; oversee research, creative planning and production inputs and, in effect, manage the campaign. They also keep clients informed on the progress of their work and ensure that time schedules are met. In advertising jargon each client's contract is called an `account'. Some agencies further divide personnel in the client-servicing department into `accounts executives' and `accounts planners.'


Interact with clients and coordinate campaign inputs. As their main task is dealing with people, both within and outside the agency, tact and self confidence are required-at times to convince clients of the merits of a campaign plan, at others to enthuse staff and suppliers into giving their best to the job.


Take a more academic approach. Their work is to organize research; collate information; gauge consumer attitudes and based on this draw up the most appropriate and effective advertising strategy within a specified budget. MBA graduates from prestigious institutions are preferred for posts in the client-servicing department. At trainee level however, a BA degree in economics with statistics is acceptable. A working knowledge of design, printing and video production is an asset.

Creative Department

The creative department is responsible for conceptualizing and designing advertisements in the form they appear in print, audio-visual or display. There are two main aspects of this task-copy writing and art. Though each is handled by a separate department, both work in conjunction on a job.


The first stage in the making of an advertisement. This department-working on a brief that
describes the requirement, target audience, media channels and space/time allocations-evolves a theme for the campaign and provides the text or `copy' for advertisements; slogans; jingles; scripts and promotional literature as well as proposals, concept notes and film treatments. 

The copy department is also expected to edit all textual matter for factual, syntax and typesetting discrepancies before it goes into production. Personnel in this department are usually at least BA graduates with a good all round education and a flair for writing. A general awareness of current affairs and social trends is necessary for the job. A command over more than one language can be an asset.


Responsible for the visual effect of a campaign. Layouts and graphics for advertisements; displays; storyboards; packaging; mastheads; symbols and logo are generated by the art department, which works at two levels:


Which is conceptual. This side of the art department takes care of the overall `look' of the campaign. Designs are worked out in the form of rough sketches. The size and type of lettering; visual to text ratio; style of graphics and photography and colors are all decided here.

The Studio:  

Deals with the technical aspects of design. Rough sketches are converted here into finished layouts,
Storyboards; artworks and slides. The studio also keeps stock of the art materials purchased by the agency and when ordering day-to-day inputs, such as lettering and transparencies from suppliers, ensures that these are of the right quantity, quality and size. Creative talent is the main requirement of the art department. A qualification in commercial art from a reputed design school is necessary for a post here. 

Media Department

Responsible for the positioning of an advertisement in the press, radio or television as well as identifying and procuring display space. The media department, keeping in view the
target or segment at whom the communication is directed identifies the appropriate media, locations or time-slots for advertisements; ensures maximum exposure within a pre-determined outlay; and makes certain that material is released on time. There are two sides to media operations:


Done in collaboration with the accounts servicing team-to devise the most effective use for an advertising budget in order to gain the greatest advantage in sales or influence. This involves keeping track of space and airtime rates as well as the compilation and analysis of relevant data
collected by the agency or a consultant. Based on this information the team decides on the right mix of communication channels that will effectively and economically transmit a campaign message to the target audience.


Involves procurement and purchase of advertising space and airtime. It also includes keeping contact with commercial representatives of the press, television stations and other media outlets; rising estimates on campaign media plans; and ensuring that materials are released on time.
Due to variations in the way agencies are run these operations could be either carried out by separate teams or individuals or handled by a single person or team. 

This would depend on the number of accounts and the size of their budgets as well as the agency's staff and infrastructure. MBA graduates are usually hired for media planning. A creative bent of mind, familiarity with numbers (knowledge of statistics) and computer literacy are important requisites for personnel in the media department.


This department is responsible for the final look of the advertisement for release in newspapers, magazines, posters and billboards. The production people ensure that the ad gets printed and therefore need to know all about typography, printing, photography, use of material etc.
As more and more ads are now released in film format, the production department is also likely to be involved in the production of the ad film. Often agencies depend on independent producers for TV commercials, but give advice in the storyboard, prepared in minute detail before the actual filming, and in the selection of a film director and camera-crew, use of props, models and location.


Every good ad plans starts with research. This is to do with the collection of data, of information about the consumer, the market, and existing competition. Based on the market research a broad hypothesis is formed, on which the ad story is worked out. Market research specialists must therefore be good in statistics, and have some background in psychology or behavioral sciences.

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