Reflections of My Days at the Ad Agency
By Richard Mabey Jr.
From my mid to late forties, I worked at a major advertising agency in their editorial department. I worked my way up from being a Proofreader to being the Chief Editor, wherein I had about six people report to me. Wording is very important in a magazine ad layout. You just cannot imagine how important it is.
The whole purpose to advertising is to convince you to take money out of your wallet, or to take your credit card out of your wallet, and buy something that you basically don’t need. That’s it. That’s the whole ball of wax to advertising. Plain and simple, it’s a form of mind control. If you find that hard to believe, all I can say is to spend about six months working in an ad agency and you’ll learn that lesson hard and fast. That lesson is the essential key to surviving in the advertising jungle.
I’m all for free enterprise, but I firmly believe that John and Jane Doe really need to be better informed about the tricks of mind control used in advertising. All in all, it was a good experience for me to work in an ad agency. But after five years of it, enough was enough.
During my tenure at the ad agency I was able to sharpen my leadership skills. But then again, being a boss ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. I learned the serious importance of choosing just the right word, and the principle that less wording is often better. And, I learned first hand, how hard these big corporations work to control our minds. It’s really not a joke.
After my spiritual awakening came to me that it was time to leave the mean jungle of the ad agency, I began working as an editor at a Christian book publisher. At the same time, I moonlighted writing feature articles and human interest stories for a local newspaper in northern New Jersey.
Leaving the ad agency brought such a wonderful sense of freedom to me. During my last year at the ad agency, I struggle horribly at spending so much time working on the wording of a magazine ad that served one purpose and one purpose only, to get John and Jane Consumer to reach into their wallets and spend money on something that they didn’t really need.
Among the major accounts that I worked on included a world-known brand of soda, a fast food restaurant that specializes in serving chicken, and a myriad of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. I am so glad that I’m no longer working in the field of advertising.
Sometimes, this glimmer of guilt pierces my heart and mind, for having sold out to work at something that I really didn’t like nor really believe in. But it was a weekly paycheck, I got comfortable at the place, and I was having a tough time finding another job where I could work with words. Reality is tough.
If you’re at a place, at a job, in a situation, where you are not fully happy, please realize that you must focus your energy on finding a way out. After leaving the ad agency, I was much happier to devote my talents as a writer and editor in the publication of Christian books. I think it was fear that kept me at the ad agency. I was afraid to take that step of faith. I hate to admit it, but during my last year at the ad agency, I began questioning my talent as a writer and editor. I began thinking that the ad agency was the best job I could ever get. After all, I was soon to be 50. I was wrong. There were new horizons waiting for me.
Fear is a horrible chain. Faith is the key that unlocks the chains of fear. For all of you who may be feeling stuck at your job, please dig deep within and find the strength and courage to free yourself and move on. Trust your heart.