Advertising industry has to under go an attitudinal shift

Among he primary reasons for people moving out of the advertising industry is the condescending attitude that prevails between the client and the advertising agency. There is no real sense of ownership that the agency experience or rather is allowed to experience in terms of the brand.

One Mr.A used to work for Saatchi & Saatchi and was fortunate to be working on a brand like Procter & Gamble (P&G). His team was instrumental in achieving the brand positioning for a number of P&G personal care products, including Head & Shoulders. So, ‘A’ and his team felt an emotional connection with the product and identified it as their brand. However, neither did the market acknowledge this nor did the client. Once, at a meeting with P&G brand manager and a few others, someone from the agency alluded to Head & Shoulders as ‘our’ brand. This had everyone particularly the P&G brand manger looking rather surprised.

The dynamics of ownership in terms of brands is largely determined by money. It is not the people who are involved in the creative process of brand building but the people who say for getting the creative work done who ultimately own the brand. It is rather faceless industry. The credit for outstanding creative work is accorded to the agency as a whole and never to the individuals who are involved in creative conceptualization. And though various awards recognize creative contribution at an individual level and compensate to an extent, the fact remains that by and large creative professionals are faceless entities.

Creativity in advertising being sublimated by the client’s brief as another reason or people leaving the advertising worlds. Sooner or later, most creative people experience frustration and move out to other domains that offer more creative license.

On the other hand, for a senior copy supervisor for an advertising agency says that it isn’t always a feeling of saturation that causes people to exit the industry. In a way, the change is a done thing considering almost everyone who enters the industry has a long term plan to eventually progress into an allied sector. By the age of 30-35 one is already a creative director and then the only job left is that of a managing creative director (MCD). However considering three are only some 10-odd positions for MCDs in the country, it isn’t viable option for the hundreds that are employed by advertising agencies s a result one remains a creative director for a considerable amount of time and the only option left then, is to change careers.

People from creative divisions are most likely to change careers. But this change isn’t as much about the job as is about the person. Creatives are restless by nature, which is probably why they are most likely to change careers.

People move to other sectors because remuneration there are much higher. Besides, today, there are a variety of options for advertising professionals to choose from. For instance, there is digital media which more or less requires the same set of skills but pay much better.

A career in an advertising agency exposes and individual to multiple domains like films, print, art and radio. However there is not much scope for specialization. Hence the people who want to specialize in one domain eventually venture out. For instance, people who are interested in artwork set up their design studios, copywriters go onto scriptwriting for films and so on.

Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that at present the advertising industry is prone to a high rate of attrition. So, what needs to be done to control this? There is clear need for visionaries in advertising. The advertising industry has to undergo an attitudinal shift within itself so that on level, it can retain and nurture talent and on a parallel level, it can contribute much more to the nation’s GDP. They have to move beyond the 15% commission theory in terms of client billings and work towards improving economies of scale

At present, the HR division is very restrictive in its scope and does not go beyond issuing appointment letters. This needs to be changed. The HR division should work closely with the management to map out growth opportunities within the agency for individual employees.