Advertising Executive – Bullshit jobs and how to get them
Create perceived need/value for inherently generic or worthless products
Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.
$$: Ground- level workers with writing ability move quickly to the top, immediately snagging low to mid- six fi gures; those who can spin mythological concepts surrounding quotidian household objects can command up to seven fi gures.
ß: 100. It’s easy to sell bullshit to people who are in the market for it, but when they’re not buying your bullshit, life is not worth living.
Skills Required: The ability to apply great attributes, moving story lines, heroic character traits, humor, and passion.
Helpful capabilities include: experience in ensemble acting, improvisational theater, sales, public relations, graphic design, and team sports.
Duties: Depends on what portion of the alimentary canal you occupy—the top where the mouth is located or the other end.
Generally, the advertising campaign begins with a conversation with the client, who believes his product or service will be helped by spending inordinate amounts of money for the branding and high-c oncept positioning a great ad campaign provides. Once you have the mandate to do what is necessary from him a variety of things happen. Managers manage. Writers write. Graphic guys do their visual magic. Researchers lob in market analysis. Sometimes the group gets together and brainstorms, whipping up a froth of bullshit that lifts the entire boat. At last a campaign comes together and you go back in and pitch the client in a pithy, snazzy, riveting dog- and-pony presentation that leaves everybody gasping and nails the cat to the wall.
We grew up founding our dreams on the infinite promise of American advertising. I still believe that one can learn to play the piano by mail and that mud will give you a perfect complexion.
Famous Examples: J. Walter Thompson, who in some ways began the entire business in the nineteenth century with the first print campaigns. Why should a cracker have any name except “cracker”? Thompson saw that it could, and there followed Ritz, Saltines, Uneeda Biscuits—get it? You need a biscuit! Ha! About twenty years ago, J.Walter Thompson was acquired by Martin Sorrell, one of the great business bullshitters of all time and the master of the bloody, Pyrrhic, unfriendly takeover.What a guy. I was at a meeting with Sir Martin once in which he addressed a bunch of some two hundred senior business executives with a mélange of wisdom, insight, and selfimportant claptrap. My favorite moment was when he received a question from the audience about the effi cacy of hostile acquisitions. He took a moment, looked deep into his vast wad of personal experience, and said, “I d on’t believe there is such a thing.” Now, that, my friends, is worldclass bullshit, and it’s not a coincidence that Sorrell is in the advertising business, whose mission it is to dream it up, flambé it, and present it on a platter to the people of the world. W
How to Get It: Pitching is at the heart of this particular bullshit game. If you’ve got a gift for shameless presentation of the ersatz, watch a lot of TV—preferably stoned now and then. Study hard on how stuff is sold to mass and niche audiences and how a worthless bolus of gunk can be turned into a child’s toy.Then go to New York. Madison Avenue is one block east of Fifth.
The Upside: Great expense account living, see your handiwork everywhere, the wonderful feeling of being creative and corporate at the same time.
The Downside: Must take meetings with the AFLAC duck.
The Dark Side:You’re considered a dinosaur at forty. W
Where You Go from Here: Politics—as an advisor to human products.