Like many recruiters, I do work for all kinds of companies and ad agencies. There are very few ad agencies which I have not heard of or don’t know something about. Most of the companies I work for are well known.
Now, I don’t expect everyone to know every agency, nor to know as much as much as I do about companies and agencies, but I am always surprised when I call people about a job or the name of an agency comes up in conversation and the person I am talking to is unfamiliar it. Recently, it happened with Droga5, M&C Saatchi and 72andSunny. All these agencies have been in the news and each is doing well. Someone recently didn’t know what DDB stood for and admitted to only vaguely know of Bill Bernbach. Ouch. That tells me a lot about their knowledge of and commitment to the business.
When I call an account person or planner or media person and they don’t know who the players are, I realize that they probably don’t read the trade press. And to me, someone who doesn’t follow the trades isn’t committed to the business. I find the best, most upwardly mobile candidates are totally familiar with the business and its players. They read the trade press constantly.
Now, frankly, I find subscriptions to Ad Age and AdWeek overly expensive. But their on-line editions are less expensive - and are updated every day, often more than once. It is inexcusable for anyone in the business not to read the trades press every week and to check out the daily updates on the net. Reading the advertising trades should be mandatory for everyone in the business, especially since some sites like Agency Spy and Media Bistro are free. Lawyers read the Law Review and food executives read Supermarket News. Agency people should do the same.The trade press certainly will help keep people up to date on media, technology and the business in general. My attitude has always been that you never know one day if a client will ask your opinion about something in the business, and you damn well better have enough knowledge to have an answer.There are new avenues of communication popping up virtually every week which the trades cover.
All agency people should know who is doing what. I wonder how many advertising people actually follow advertising awards. I love to troll the net to see new work. Every account person should make it their business to know who is winning what in print, outdoor, digital, television. Not that the awards are all that important, but what is important is getting a sense of who is doing good work, both agencies and clients. Over the years, I have interviewed many people who brag that they don't watch television (I rarely pass them on).
The wonderful thing about advertising is that it is still an exciting and all-encompassing business. I still love seeing new and exciting work, reading about campaigns and why they were created and seeing the changes and advancements which take place almost daily. I love looking at commercials and read the ads in magazines before I read the editorial.
Successful people have an enthusiasm which goes beyond their individual accounts and agencies. It should be part of your life.