How to Get Your First Job in Advertising

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Thought leaders

How To
adverTising
Dave Trott

geT your
firsT job in

Dave Trott How to get your first job in advertising

Introduction
Last year, Campaign and Marketing set out to publish a series of key pieces about our industry that are worth preserving and celebrating. Here’s our latest gem. It’s from the 70s, an era when the heady mixture of fresh advertising thinking that Colletts, BMP and Saatchis contributed along with a new wave of agencies was – with the help of the soon-to-expand media independents – to transform the face of British advertising. Dave Trott’s How to get your first job in advertising is part of the powerful advertising record of that decade. When he wrote it, Trott was a copywriter at BMP, though soon to immortalise his name at Gold Greenless Trott. As well as a blindingly simple, logical and timeless guide to how to bash a portfolio into shape, this is a definitive explanation of what our industry is here to do: sell stuff, and build the value of brands by proving the long-term efficacy of the product. This piece is topped by CST’s managing director, Nick Simons. Part of the Cagney Group, the agency is staying true to Trott’s authenticity. It is introduced by Peter Souter, the deputy chairman of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, who regards Trott as a brilliant, altruistic, munificent teacher. Caroline Marshall Consultant editor Haymarket Brand Media



How to get your first job in advertising Dave Trott

Dave Trott How to get your first job in advertising

Foreword
Thirty years ago, Grange Hill made its first appearance on the BBC, The Deer Hunter won Best Picture at the Oscars, Steve Ovett was the sporting man of the moment and the biggest single on the “hit parade” was The Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive. And Dave Trott wrote How to get your first job in advertising. Given the mind-boggling scale of change over the past 30 years, nobody would expect something written at the time to have relevance today. And yet some of the best young creative directors in the business got their start by reading it. That’s because, although trends and styles change, great thinking never goes out of fashion. Techniques come and go but great thinking is always great thinking. And, what I notice is that Dave’s thinking always starts and finishes with selling. Over the years that I’ve been in the business, I’ve worked with some creatives who only want to win awards. Some who only 4

want to do funny commercials, some who only want to do classy commercials. But I’ve never worked with a creative who only wants to do work that sells. Selling is what we do. At least, it’s supposed to be. So everything Dave does, or his creative department does and everything he teaches is based on logic. The logic of selling. Not that it has to be boring or repetitive. ITV had a viewer’s poll of The 100 Greatest Ads Of All Time recently, and four of Dave’s ads were in it. Viewers don’t vote for ads they’re bored with, they vote for ads they love. But for Dave it wouldn’t be enough for the viewers just to love the ads unless the ads worked towards selling. He constantly reminds me and everyone we work with that selling is what we do. And, because it’s selling based on logic, it can be questioned, improved and measured. But, of course, nobody will buy anything if they zone out of the ads. So the work needs to be intrusive, fun, engaging and memorable. It’s not just airy-fairy, arty-farty “creativity”. He doesn’t expect advertisers to be patrons of the arts and run commercials purely for the entertainment and amusement of the viewing public. He expects them to work. Which is perhaps why D&AD recently presented Dave with The President’s Award (an accolade which they only hand out once every other year). If I was a client putting a pitchlist together, I’d always make sure I had at least one agency on it that I knew for sure was more interested in using my advertising budget to increase awareness and sales of my brand, and not just...
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