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Why should you work in advertising?

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Jacques Séguéla founded the ad agency RSCG. He was also the author of a book called Don’t tell my mother I work in advertising. She thinks I’m the piano player in a brothel.”

According to our data, one in three of advertising’s future leaders sometimes feel they must apologise for working in the industry – but Séguéla’s book came out in 1979, so this isn’t a new phenomenon.  

And for a sector that knows so much about selling for other people, advertising hasn’t always done a good job of selling itself. In fact, over 60% of advertising types think that advertising’s best years are behind it. We’ve got a bit of an image problem.

You can’t shrug it off as self-awareness – MPs and the public hold a higher opinion of advertising than its own practitioners do.

But advertising can be a punch bag, and repeated knocks to the head have certainly shaken our confidence.

There are occasions when the criticisms are fair – you won’t find many of us stepping up to defend “Are you beach body ready?”

But by and large, that’s not representative of modern advertising. And although there’s no end to the list of types of jobs in advertising today, there’s one thing that ties them all together: they make a real difference.

Never more so have jobs in advertising made a difference – because never has advertising been so critical to our economy, society and culture.

Advertising revenues still pay for all the culture, media and sport we enjoy. In fact last year, a record £20bn of adspend flooded our media – supporting TV productions, bus stops and British film. But now the majority of advertising is spent on the internet, supporting services that are integral to all of our lives – despite in many cases not even having been thought of 15 years ago.

Britain’s world beating digital economy has turned our advertising sector into global digital leaders too. We have the third biggest digital adspend market in the world, and as a share of total spend, no others are as mature. 

It’s in UK advertising that you can learn the digital skills that will serve you well over your whole career.

All that despite still being world-renowned for creativity. Only the US wins more Cannes Lions than the UK – and when you compare the gong-tallies with respective economy size, we leave the Americans in the dust.

And that award-winning creativity doesn’t just get you Lions and Pencils. It makes a real difference – now more than ever. IPA data shows that creatively-awarded campaigns are on average 11 times more effective than those that didn’t win creative prizes. With the reach and accuracy of data-driven advertising, your social campaigns can change behaviour for the better, all over the world, in matter of days.

IPA data shows that creatively-awarded campaigns are on average 11 times more effective than those that didn’t win creative prizes.

It all adds up to a contribution of over £100bn to GDP every year, over 550,000 jobs supported, and a world of art and media and sport that we all want to live in. And I’m told it’s good fun, too.

It’s not quite that piano player gig, but nonetheless… good choice. 

Dan Wilks, Deputy Director, Credos

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