We recently had our windows done. Not the most exciting start to an article, but bear with me. I had to be knocking about the apartment to let the window man in, which brought the usual awkward chit-chat. Discussing the “weather” and the “strange times” brought back an old feeling of inadequateness, which I’ve always felt around trades-people or anyone who has a tangible, physical output from their day’s work.
I can physically see the work they do, which always feels more honest, worthy or noble. I feel this way around carpenters, barbers or bakers. Or even dentists and doctors, as they do something useful that helps people. All skills that would come in handy in a post-apocalyptic world. Not sure how useful a branded podcast will be when the zombies come?
But, unless we do have to rebuild the earth, I’m wrong in my thinking. I shouldn’t feel this way. Advertising is as honourable a profession as any, and it’s time we all realised that.
Whenever the topic comes up about job titles I almost sound apologetic when I say “advertising”, or “creative”, as if it’s not an incredibly tough yet satisfying profession. Afraid the trade-types will think I work less hard than them, or afraid that the artist-types will deem me some kind of sell-out. And I’ve heard my colleagues sound equally sheepish, following it up with a “for my sins” joke, or stating how it’s “not forever”.
In reality, our industry is one to be proud of. It’s packed full of incredibly talented people, who work hard. People who deal with daily battles, criticism, feedback, long hours, and more - all while pulling incredible ideas from thin air! We may not be able to put in windows - but we do make things. We make films, shows, podcasts, books, and products. And we help people, this industry finds ways to make the world more accessible, more inclusive, and more diverse. It may be derided as awards fodder, but it still helps.
Advertising is a great job, and it’s ok to be proud of it. It’s ok to be proud of working with a McDonald’s or a Coke. It’s ok to pat ourselves on the back with an award or two. And it’s ok to not have an exit strategy, and to want to stay in this industry for a long time.
So, the next time somebody asks me what I do, I’m going to tell them with pride, because advertising creative is as noble a profession as any. Zombie apocalypse or not.