Advertising Managers

Advertising Account Executive

Charlotte, 27, is an advertising account executive, currently working for an advertising agency in Toronto. She has her BA in sociology from the University of Toronto and also has taken the first year of the Institute of Canadian Advertising (ICA) program.

Stephanie: What made you decide to become an advertising accounts manager? How did you become an advertising accounts manager?
I went into advertising because I have always thrived in creative atmospheres, but there is a side to me that also likes marketing and research - both are large aspects of an account manager. Another thing about my choice of career path was that I had a lot of friends that worked in the business - the more I heard them talk about it, the more advertising seemed like the perfect job for me. I took a quick down-and-dirty course on advertising agency life and then I researched various agencies and applied to the ones that appealed to me. I finally got offered a job after many interviews. The thing that I found out in all of my applying and interviewing is that most agencies hire based on referrals from someone already working in the company. I luckily knew someone at my current company and that helped me get my foot in the door.

Stephanie: What do you like about your job?
I love the interaction with the creative teams - they are the ones who come up with the concepts for the ads from the research briefs that I have written. I also love the research that is involved - researching what the competitors are doing, finding out what consumers are thinking.

Stephanie: What is your least favourite part of the job?
The high stress levels and the time commitment you have to make. This is not your typical nine-to-five job. There is a tendency to have to work late many nights of the week and on occasion weekends. It can be very difficult to juggle your family life and working life if you work in this business. There could be many occasions that you would not be making it home to eat dinner with the family.

Stephanie: What advice do you have for someone considering becoming an advertising accounts manager?
There are so many aspects to the advertising business that I think if someone wants to get into it would be in their best interest to set up information sessions at various agencies. This will allow them to get an idea of how the whole business works and the various departments that are part of an advertising agency. They may find that they would be better suited for a position other than one in account management. In my experience, many agencies are more then willing to set up appointments with people interested in entering the business to talk to them and answer any questions that they might have.

Stephanie: What kind of an education do you need to be an advertising accounts manager?
There are different ways of going about getting into adverting - in Toronto, I know that George Brown, Ryerson and Humber College all offer courses in marketing and/or advertising. These courses are great for teaching people about the different facets of advertising and helping them to get a clear picture of the role and function of each department. The Institute of Canadian Advertising (ICA) also offers a course called Introduction to Advertising which is a quick sort of overview of the agency life. It is a night course that is offered once a week for three months.

Stephanie: What kind of education did you get?
I have a BA in sociology from the University of Toronto and then I also took the ICA course called Introduction to Advertising.

Stephanie: What is your favourite commercial and why?
I have so many - I think it changes every day. Right now I would have to say that my favorite TV ad is for this a new TV channel geared to women called Oxygen TV. It takes place in a nursery, and there is a great retro 70s song playing in the background; the lyrics are all about "I am woman." There are a whole bunch of female babies in their incubators with little pink warming hats on, and a nurse passes by and sees that one of the hats is on the floor. She picks it up and places it back on the baby's head, and moments later the hat lands on the floor again and suddenly all of the babies are throwing their hats and there is one little arm coming up in a fist of defiance. I like it because I think that it is very well done, it's funny and it has a great message. There was great thinking that went into that ad - they achieved the message in a very creative and different way.

My favorite print ad right now is for Pepsi. There is a can of Pepsi placed by an ice cube tray and each ice cube has arms and hands and they are all reaching to the Pepsi as if saying "Pick me! Pick me!" I like that ad because I think they were creative and smart with the message of 'Everyone wants Pepsi, everyone loves Pepsi.'

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