From my days at the ad agency. My desk and office were far from being conventional. Something that drove the big wheels crazy, especially my Batman and Robin figurines atop my computer screen.
Reflections Of The Ad Agency Days
By Richard Mabey Jr.
I spent about six years of my life, from 1998 till 2004, working as a copywriter at an ad agency. I still have nightmares about it. I’m a bit of a workaholic, so during this time I also moonlighted and wrote news stories, feature stories and columns for a northern New Jersey regional newspaper.
Prior to working at the ad agency, I worked in the public relations department of a large telecommunications company. Writing for public relations is world’s apart from writing copy for an ad agency. Print ads are designed to persuade, to convince, to almost hypnotize a person into thinking that by buying a certain product, certain problems will be instantly solved.
Now, the big wheels at ad agencies will disagree with this. But that is the basic purpose of a print ad. To lure you in. Not through your conscious mind, but by hooking into a chord in your subconscious mind. The plan is to lure you in to buy a certain service or product, not through appealing to your intelligence or you logic; but to appeal to your emotions. If you don’t think this is true, please do sit down and think about it.
I’m not afraid of hard work. But I must confess that I never really liked working at the ad agency. But, it was a job. And, I have to confess that I was doing my honest best to get back into public relations, but the truth of the matter is that I was at the point in my life where I was at the dawn of becoming a victim of age prejudice. If you don’t think age prejudice is real, please do think about it some more.
Companies pay ad agencies big money for one reason: to come up with catchy phrases, silly jingles, and eye-catching pictures and graphics to do one thing; convince you to dig into your wallet and buy their product or service. And, please believe me, ad agencies are very clever and sly in dreaming up ways to convince you to part with your money for stuff you really don’t need. That’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth; when it comes to the subject of advertising!
I remember there were times when I would get this big knot in my stomach, I’d get a terrible headache, I would just feel generally uneasy at the ad agency. I would be in a meeting with my fellow coworkers and Mr. Big would holler, “CONVINCE THEM TO BUY SUPER DUPER BRAND MARSHMALLOWS! THAT’S YOUR JOB, CONVINCE THE WHOLE WORLD THAT THEY NEED SUPER DUPER BRAND MARSHMALLOWS!!!!!” Oh, what a nightmare it was.
I’m fairly creative and a decent writer. So, I survived the trials and tribulations of life at the ad agency. But, believe me, my conscience haunted me. I’d send résumés out by the dozens each and every week. I’d contact all my old head hunters. It was tough times and I was getting old.
In the summer of 2004, I found my parachute. It was in plain sight all the time. I jumped from the insanity of flying Ad Agency Airlines and landed an editing job at a Christian book publishing company. It was the last job that I ever had before saying farewell to my old Mayberry in New Jersey and moving to Central Pennsylvania.
Life is tough at times. For all of my readers who are going through the grinding mill, unhappy at their jobs, getting terrible headaches from all the pressure, and finding your stomach hurting from all the acid from dealing with the insensitivity of all the big muckalucks; I share this thought with you. Never give up on your dream to find a better job! Never give up on your dream to fly away and find fulfillment in the artistic and creative endeavor that truly makes you happy!
As Christine McVie, from Fleetwood Mac fame, sang to us all those years ago: “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow!”
Peace and harmony,