I must admit that there was a certain point in my life wherein I didn't know what career path to take. As a biology graduate, it wasn't easy for me to find a job that is related to my interests: media. The frustration was getting deeper as I met a high school friend who was lucky enough to get a post in a top advertising company in a major city. After exchanging pleasantries when we bumped into each other, he invited me over for a cup of coffee. Never did i expect that the conversation that would transpire after which would further torture me.
As a copywriter for a leading advertising company, he started telling me that he had worked with several models and celebrities, that he had met this person and that they had spent days for the commercial shoots, that he had dinner with this sports personality after a pictorial; he had gone to this place for a photo shoot with this and with that...In other words, he had all the bragging rights which left me feeling, well, so insignificant!
So, what should be the qualities of a good copywriter? Do you think I'm qualified? I asked.
Though I knew he wouldn't exactly say no, I just didn't expect that he would answer my question with another question:
"Can you come up with ideas that will deliver a client's main message about his product?"
Though somehow I felt an air of sarcasm in that answer, I let it slide. But before I could say a word, he had this to say:
"You see, my job is not all about glitz and glamour. We copywriters do a lot of brainstorming to produce visual and copy ideas. After which, we present our concept to the client and when the client is not satisfied, we have to do a lot of revisions until such a time we can finally get their nod."
I'm not sure if he was trying to talk me out of pursuing such a career or he was merely trying to underestimate my abilities. Though I was starting to feel remorseful over accepting his invitation for a cup of coffee, I consoled myself by thinking, "Well, at least he bought you an expensive glass of Strabucks coffee."
"You know, the advertising industry is very stressful. Though we usually work from Mondays to Fridays, the work doesn't stop in the office. Your mind is constantly at work even at night or on weekends because you have to come up with a creative idea that will seal a client's account. Yes, there are times we go out for location shoots or go to film and recording studios. That's the fun part. But days before the presentation to the clients, pressure, pressure and pressure. You have to make sure that you and your team will impress the client."
With only one question that I asked, I got a lecture. Well, some things never change at all. When we were in high school, it had always been about himself. A few years after that, it was already about himself and his copywriting job.
I believe the pay is great, I said after his monologue had sealed my mouth.
Well, I 'm buying you Starbucks!
Okay, I took it from there.
He must have had realized how tactless he had been, so he tried to redeem himself by going back to my first question:
"You're a Biology graduate, right? Well, I know you are also creative and that counts a lot. But most of my co-workers are advertising graduates too just like me. Some older copywriters, though, those over 34 years old, have journalism experience were hired though they didn't have advertising degrees....I think you will have a hard time," he said straightforwardly again.
"But if you really want, you can take up short courses in advertising. This can increase your chance. So, what do you think?"
Since I didn't have the money to pursue a short term advertising course, the dream to be a part of the advertising world remained a dream.
But, in hindsight, advertising may not be really for me. For not long after that encounter with my copywriter friend, I also fulfilled my dream to be in the media: Now, he's not the only one who brushes elbows with models and celebrities. I too, wine and dine with the stars as an entertainment columnist!
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