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VoiceTAP Careers and Colleges Series – Advertising as a career

By on May 22, 2009 in On A Whim | 10 comments

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VoiceTAP‘s call on Advertising as a career was held yesterday, 20th May 2009. Unfortunately I was not able to make a post on this sooner because I kept getting disconnected from the call multiple times yesterday. Before I begin, there’s a quick poll that VoiceTAP is conducting on what kind of sessions you’d want, so if you can leave your response below that would be nice.


Listen to VoiceTAP Advertising as a career call by clicking here

Advertising as a career in a nutshell

The expert on call was V Subramaniam, who has worked in a senior position with advertising major Ogilvy & Mather. A lot of the advice given in the Event Management as a career call is equally valid for the realm of advertising too, so I would suggest you read up that first. While there are courses for advertising, most of these are postgraduate specializations. Just like in event management, the academic background that you’re coming from is not a roadblock to a career in advertising. Instead, it is your creativity and passion for the field that counts. Within the specific field of creatives, you have two different specializations – namely, copywriting and artwork. For specializing in artwork, design courses from National Institute of Design is a reputed institute which accepts students at the undergraduate level too. With the advent of online advertising and use of computer-aided graphics design, doing a course in this area may be beneficial too. Wigan & Leigh College and Amity School of Communication offer programmes in this field.

Most of the courses specializing in advertising however are mostly at the postgraduate level. Thus, if you want to join a course at the undergraduate level then you can join mass communication, journalism, or English (Hons) courses. Ideally this sets you up for the copywriting line but then you can always cross over to something else.

Getting into advertising has become more competitive – regardless of whether you’re doing a course in the field, or a course in an unrelated field. It is vitally important that you start building a portfoliowhich will help you intern at companies and give you some hands-on experience. One way of going about this to, say, make an ad poster or video or something along the same lines for your favorite products. If you’re good at photography, then upload your pictures to Flickr – it has a really vibrant community, and you are sure to get feedback from others on how your photos are. Check what the pros do by browsing through Flickr Explore images. Make sure to be an active participant by commenting on others pictures.

Flickr is good for those who’re more interested in photography-type artwork for advertising, but if you’re more into graphic design work, then deviantART is the place to be in. deviantART is a website dedicated to sharing and discovering artwork and this will be of immense help to those who want to go into artwork specializations. You will eventually need to edit even photographs, so this is something you should check out even if you’re more interested in photography. Image editing is done either in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator – knowledge of both will be necessary. The best place for Photoshop tutorials is Psdtuts+ (Psdtuts+ even has a video channel for demonstrations). If you don’t want to spend money yet on these commercial software, try out The Gimp (raster editor like Photoshop; basic tutorials are available here, and books – some of them freeare available here) and Inkscape (vector editor like Illustrator).

The second specialization is copywriting. Taking up a course in English or mass communication helps create a base for you, but it is strictly not necessary if your writing is good. One way of improving your writing and getting feedback is to start blogging. You no longer have to write on sheets of paper and keep thinking on whether your creative writing is good or not when you can put it up online and get genuine feedback from people – this could be constructive criticism or encouragement, both of which can be useful to you. Setting up a blog is free and the best place to do that is WordPress.com. (The other major alternative is Blogger.com, but it often doesn’t function properly these days.) On the technical side, you’ll probably need knowledge of Adobe InDesign (free alternative is Scribus). Adobe PageMaker is an older (now deprecated) but still widely used software.

Further Reading

The amount of content that you’ll find online

Bottom Line

Advertising is most certainly a demanding profession, and it needs a lot of creativity. You’ve gotta come up with stuff that the customer is going to remember – and distinguish your client from its competitors – right up to the point the customer buys a product. Having a sense of humor helps too. Don’t get too hung up about the technical aspects (such as software) – that is not a major concern when you’re working.



10 Comments

  1. Dude, mention stuff about the best colleges for Media… Or atleast take their names. Symbiosis and MUDRA. How could you not include MUDRA there? I have an ex-classmate from FIITJEE going there…

    • Ankur

      May 22, 2009

      Post a Reply

      Omai gawd! Someone using MTNL is online! :O You should like, get a medal or something. I’m seriously. I tried to call you and messaged you about DBM#30, but I got nothing but busy tones.

      Losing sleep over your Board results coming out, eh? Don’t worry! And best of luck!

      I linked to Mudra and Symbiosis under a link postgraduate courses in the beginning, since that is what both of them offer. I guess most of the people who ‘attended’ the VoiceTAP call would be undergraduates. They would be the ones really needing guidance, after all. So I didn’t mention institutes offering postgraduate courses in the article itself, but gave a link to the more prominent ones.

      • rach

        May 23, 2009

        Symbiosis offers an undergrad course too…

    • Ankur

      May 23, 2009

      Post a Reply

      Thanks for sharing those links! Yes, I planned to give the afaqs link for the ‘marketing’ call in this VoiceTAP series because afaqs goes above and beyond simply marketing. The second link is really nice and useful. :)

      • rach

        May 23, 2009

        oh btw, i saw illustrator being more widely used than photoshop, which leads me to believe that illustrator is much much more imp than photoshop..

      • Ankur

        May 23, 2009

        That’s because Illustrator is a vector editor while Photoshop is raster. Vector images can be scaled up / down to any level without any loss of quality while the same is not true of raster images.

      • rach

        May 23, 2009

        i know that idiot! all i’m saying is that knowledge of illustrator is more important than photoshop.

      • Ankur

        May 23, 2009

        If you remember that, then I have indeed taught you well about technical stuff, my young apprentice. The Force is strong within you.

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