Ad Grads and The New Path To Success Part 2

By Shannon Stull

Last month I began a two-part article about why working in-house is a great opportunity for recent ad grads. In part one, we covered reasons why this could be a good move, such as: you’d have the opportunity to be the wild card, you could work on national brands, and you could get to build a brand from the ground up. Here are some additional reasons why working in-house might be a great alternative to working in an agency.

The Opportunity To Learn How “The Client” Thinks
Often, when you are a creative in an agency, you are siloed in your department. You report to the creative director and you design, with little to no contact with the actual client. Working with marketers in in-house teams will expose you to more spreadsheets and charts than you ever wanted to see. However, this is a great opportunity to learn about the motivations of the client. This is how they are looking at your design: “Does it meet creative direction?” “How does the target audience react to it?” “Will it result in the sales they expect next quarter?”

Listen to these frustrating questions that sometimes seem to crush your creative masterpieces. In the end, this information will help you better create solutions that are not only pretty, but are also strategy-driven and effective.

The Opportunity to Gain Skills Beyond Design
If your in-house department is small, chances are you’re going to wear many hats. If you don’t yet, make sure you do. If you are a designer that specializes in print? Ask to be involved with web work. Are you an Art Director? Insist that you be on set for any TV shoots, and are also involved with casting and styling. Also, try to learn as much as you can about the boring numbers. If you can learn to quantify creative, this will help you in higher-level positions when you move on – either as an in-house Creative Director or as a business owner.

The Opportunity For A Normal Work/Life Balance
Of course, this varies by company. However, it’s not uncommon to hear of normal agency working hours of 12 hours a day (at least). Most in-house agencies and marketing departments fall into more traditional working hours of 9-5 (give or take a few hours). This leaves you plenty of time to explore your other hobbies like competitive cycling, or taxidermy art. This is also a great benefit to brag about the next time an agency friend complains about yet another all-nighter.

Ad students and/or teachers, what do you think? What are the reasons YOU want to work in-house? Or conversely, why are you still convinced that ad agencies are the only way to true success?

Shannon Stull is a principal and Creative Director at WHOISCARRUS, a full-service Orlando advertising agency. She has experience on both agency and in-house teams in various roles, including; copywriting, art direction, and creative direction.