If you can’t sell an illusion, stay away from advertising.
Copywriters, brand managers, advertisers, creative directors, graphic designers are all great illusionists. They sell illusions and dreams. They are mentalists who can read the minds of the consumer.
Coco-Cola is a great example, branding flavored sugar water as happiness. Though the ill-effects of sugar are widely researched, Coco-Cola has been around for over a hundred years, selling billions of dreams.
Careers in advertising need you to know everything – from nursery rhymes to quantum physics. There are no fixed qualities required to be in this field. Late nights, constant pressure and bickering, you may wind up feeling much like an animal on the run. It’ll slay you, break you and ultimately bring out the creative juices in you.
Cliche as it may sound, an advertising guy is like a warrior on the field. They are constantly forced to think out of the box, have strong mental capabilities and physical endurance. There are no rules or structures that you can follow. The more structured you are, the more difficult a career this will be. You can’t make a brilliant ad, without it first completely driving you insane. That’s what creative ideas do to mankind. That’s how our world has evolved and that’s how it will survive and thrive.
Anand Mahindra once said that artists and not technology will save the world. The future belongs to poets, musicians and writers, people who use their imagination. One has to be creative to survive and thrive in today’s world. How do you touch the sensitive chord of a nation of a billion diverse people? Only a creative imagination can make you thrive in this career.
Then again, if that was not enough, if you can’t connect a product to an emotion, a career in this field will drain every energy. Even local kirana stores, pan taparies and vegetable vendors are warming up to personal branding.
Advertising careers are only for those who are mad enough to think they can change the world. How many other careers can say that! Remember the Dove ‘real beauty’ Campaign? It changed the meaning of beauty forever. DeBeers made us believe that a diamond ring is the only acceptable symbol of love. And who can forget the memorable Marlboro ad that made a Cigarette a macho man thing.
If you are ready to be an illusionist, a career in advertising may just be your next best move.
- The article was originally published in Career Ahead January 2022 issue.
An entrepreneur at heart, Ms. Priya Menon Nair has co-founded successful companies in corporate training and education. Bringing out the best in people remains her core strength. Currently pursuing a PhD, she is on her most thrilling and exciting journey thus far, having co-founded PKSBE (The Prahlad Kakkar School of Branding & Entrepreneurship) and SOBA (School of Branding & Advertising), which offer a radical form of education and use unconventional and unique methods of teaching to engage students. As a Program Director of NMIMS School of Branding & Advertising, her priority is using a combination of in-classroom teachings and real-world business simulations, along with perception-shattering sports adventure to push students to think outside the box and ultimately move beyond fear. Her endeavor is to nurture the minds of young individuals in a learning environment to enable them to grow into socially responsible, passionate entrepreneurs and business leaders who impact our world in a positive way in the years to come.