|How to Not Get a Job in Advertising
By: Brian Keller
We’ve decided to give you tips on how not to get a job in advertising. This reverses our position of trying to help you get a job.
This "sea change” occurred after watching Progressive’s spokesperson Flo advise a lactose-intolerant Progressive staff member. Flo advised the young man not to give in to peer pressure from other, we assume, Progressive workers and chug milk to be cool. This was part of Progressive's 600-million-dollar ad spend in 2015.
And After This
A Bud Light VP in charge of marketing said, “Bud Light equals blue. Blue equals refreshment. Bud Light is the most refreshing beer out there.” This is someone who ultimately affects your livelihood and career. Bud Light spends over 300 million dollars on advertising per year. Do you want to be at an agency that loses a good portion of that spending if Bud Light's buying public doesn't dig the blues? We say, help yourselves now and follow us to freedom.
We are suggesting that everyone interested in advertising become podiatrists. Just go to podiatry school and practice podiatry. No one gets well and no one ever dies. So, follow us to freedom.
1. The first step in not getting a job is to make sure to be frank about your excitement about “the work” (it’s all about the work) at your interview. Here’s a sample for you. “Gee, I really love Flo. Most kids want to be scientists or live forever in their mom’s house with an Xbox and free food, but I want to create Flo commercials and Flo social media and Flo digital work. I didn’t know what that lactose ad was about at first, but my mom told me it was a parody of the After School Specials that ran in the ’70s. She was 5 when they started. Wow, you are so in touch with humor. And, now, Flo’s a beatnik. When I find out what a beatnik is, I’m sure I will want to be one. In the meantime I know I can rip off popular culture from 40 to 50 years ago. I can make stuff up for Flo.” Then bring up the fact that Progressive spends nearly $600 million a year on advertising. Then ask why it took over 50 people (counting a plethora of creative directors but not counting crew, post-production, and editorial staff) to make something that misguided.
2. Alternate: “I don’t know if the Flo work represents an authentic conversation with consumers. I mean, data is the new oil, and what data was mined for lactose intolerance? It’s still about the big idea. So cut to the chase. Skip lactose intolerance and go right to diarrhea, like they did in the Super Bowl with Valeant's diarrhea-relief Xifaxan and its uber-cool pink intestine! Diarrhea — now that's the big idea. That was a 360-degree campaign.”
Other Ways to Not Get a Job
WARNING: In advertising there is the Catch-22 principle, which goes like this: If you don’t want a job you may get the job because not wanting it shows people you’re smart enough to have options and don’t need the job. They don't like people who have options, so they will be compelled to offer you the job to remove your options. If you have no options you may need the job. If you need the job you won’t get it, as they don't take people who have no options.
- Make sure (no matter how old you are) to convince them you were born before 1985
- Refer to all Internet search as “the Google”
- Mention you were actually a beatnik
- Refer to social media as “the Facebook”
- Make sure to have a lot of cat videos, political rants, and pictures of food on your Facebook page.
- Make sure that you have absolutely zero knowledge of Instagram, Reddit, LinkedIn, and other social media properties.
- Make sure to mention you’ve read David Ogilvy’s Ogilvy on Advertising
- Say: “Digital media…I thought media was a place where executions of ideas are placed. I didn't think media itself was really an idea. I mean, a TV spot isn’t an idea, it’s a place where you put the TV commercial that holds the idea.” Make sure to say that.
- Make sure to ask why you are interviewing with 10 people (six people will show up and have no interest in you). The only one that will talk to you is reception. They will give you water.
- Make sure you can’t use “monitor," "brand alignment," "lotta moving parts," "reach out," "let's take this offline," "best practices," and, of course, "next steps." They'll be scared that you may have something to say.
- Make sure that you don’t know the difference between a meme and an infographic.
- Make sure you have a portfolio that is pasted up and make sure to bring a VHS tape of your “reel.”
- Make sure your digital portfolio is filled with concepts you borrowed from Communication Arts, Strawberry Frog, and 72andSunny.
- Make sure to let your 50-year-old interviewer know you have an MBA (account services) and are aware of a paradigm shift in the business, or make sure to let your 50-year-old interviewer know that you went to portfolio school, won a student Clio award, were born after 1990, and are ready to run a group. Men, make sure to have a “topknot.” Women, wear something sleeveless that shows off your sleeve (shoulder-to-wrist tattoos). Quote Banksy.
- Make sure to wear a suit and let your 28-year-old interviewer know you worked with Bill Bernbach. Make sure to not know the difference between Snapchat and Instagram. Use the word “kids” a lot. Mention Woodstock, quote David Ogilvy, stare blankly when you hear some of their new work with music by Two Door Cinema Club, and let them know you won a Clio for your work on Tang.
- When you get this far on one of those horrible applications: “In 175 characters or less let us know why you are a great candidate. Write something creative that will attract our attention.” Say this: “I’m a great candidate. I don’t want a job where an ass asks this question. I didn’t fill out your job history, either. I’ve already submitted a resume.”
So, perhaps don’t pay attention to any of this and you won’t get the job if you just pretend you want the job.
Brian Keller is the Creative Director at teeny agency in Baltimore. He graduated from the University of Maryland (English), went to grad school at NYU (Cinema Studies), & attends University of Baltimore School of Law.
Brian's been working primarily in the digital space for years but enjoys all communications avenues.
He has built the creative departments at two agencies.
He likes skateboarding with his son. He also falls off his skateboard and amuses his son. When not amusing his son or riding bikes or playing basketball or working he writes for Beyond Madison Avenue & that's why Beyond Madison Avenue appears twice in this sentence.
Find him online here and at www.teenyagency.com.