Why Do You Want To Work In Advertising?

When giving a book crit I would often finish with the above question.

I wasn’t trying to catch anyone out or check the extent of their sad devotion to this ancient religion. I was genuinely interested, and I still am.

I sometimes try to remember why I wanted to work in this industry and how the coupling eventually came about.

Well, like someone who has blacked out the initial moments of a car crash, I really don’t know how this came about, but one day I found myself in the office of John Banks, the Banks of now-defunct Banks Hoggins O’Shea, ex-MD of Y&R. His offices were on Brook Street, almost opposite the old Commes Des Garcons shop and I was duly impressed by this Mayfair address.

Like I said, I have no idea how I got there, but I do remember Mr. Banks asking me which job in advertising I was seeking. I aslo remember having little idea of what he was talking about. He gently explained the basics of the account management and creative departments and suggested I head off to the IPA to find out more. I went there immediately and found out that I did not want to work in account management.

Around Christmas I sent out a spoof Absolut ad (Absolut Despair. It had a picture of me drowning my sorrows above a series of dismal puns about being ‘neat’ and ‘a good mixer’) that asked for work experience the following Easter. The agency that took me on was the now-defunct Reay Keating Hamer, who got me to catalogue Yellow Fats in their account management, where I found out that I did not want to work in account management.

While I was there I hung around in the creative department as much as possible. There a nice chap called Mark pointed me in the direction of Watford and the rest was a very minor footnote in advertising history.

So, although I’m not clear about what set me off in the direction of advertising, even when I learned about the industry from the inside it still took me quite a while to work out what a creative was and indeed that I wanted to be one.

If any of you can be bothered to explain it, I’d love to hear how and why you got into advertising.