Meet an Advertising Professional
We caught up with John O’Keefe who has worked in the advertising industry for the past 40 years. He owns his own agency called O’Keefe Communications with branches in Melbourne and Sydney.
What courses did you study to become an Advertising Professional? And tell us a bit about your current role?
Way back when I undertook a twice weekly night class in Advertising Principles and Practice at Melbourne Institute of Technology. During the day I worked as a junior, at an ad agency. The course was spread over two years and in the end, I graduated with a Diploma. Combining my studies with work experience gave me a thorough understanding of the many facets of advertising. Over the years I have attended many short courses, never stop learning as advertising as it is constantly changing.Since 1985 I have run my own boutique sized ad agency of which I am Creative Director. In conjunction with my fellow creatives, we develop ad campaigns for radio, tv, and print. I love words and ideas that answer a client brief and ultimately provide a solution.
What does an Advertising Professional do on a day-to day basis?
Every day is different; there’s no such thing as routine. One day you could be sitting in on a market research briefing, next day out on location filming a tvc. Most agencies are departmentalized into;
- Account Managers who are the agency link with the clients. They develop the briefs for the creative staff to solve.
- Media staff work on producing the most cost effective manner to appropriate the campaign budget – whether it be on tv, radio, digital, wherever. They then reserve the media space and negotiate costs.
- Production is the engine room where staff produces the material that comes from creative once it is client approved.
- In the middle is Creative where the ideas are developed. First in concept form, then laid out in a presentation format for the client to ok.
What do you think are the skills an Advertising Professional should have?
It helps to be inquisitive and creative. Think outside the square. Be prepared to be have what you think is a great idea crushed for any number of reasons. Come up with a better solution to the brief. read a lot, observe people’s behaviour and network with associates. Always be prepared to listen, and be polite.
What are your favorite things about working in the Advertising Industry?
Solving marketing problems whether it is a new product launch or rebranding of an existing product. Every brief is different, and your job is to ensure the idea or the media plan is feasible and is within budget. Overspending a client’s budget is a no, no.
The long hours and effort are worth it when the campaign achieves its objectives; then everyone is happy- including the client.
What advice would you give students aspiring to work in Advertising industry?
A University degree is preferable. Be prepared to undertake extra courses if you crack it for a job. It’s a difficult industry to get a job but keep on, keeping on. Do your homework on the agency you’re applying to, know their client list and ask questions .Have a fixed idea as to what area of advertising you would like to pursue.
You could think about applying for jobs in the fringe areas of advertising and meantime keeping an eye open for the right job to come along.
Thanks, John for sharing your story with training.com.au