Advertising Life in New York City (at least, what I have picked up on after 3 weeks of it)

By Hillary Bergman

Living in the city, we are all fish in the sea of advertisements.  You cannot escape them. You cannot walk down a single block in this city without seeing one: on a bus, a taxi, on a garbage can, or a billboard.  It’s not even just New York; we’re just a microcosm of the world today, tomorrow, and forever.  Ads fight for your attention, and every one is wittier or more ridiculous than the next.  What isn’t jumping out at you is what goes on the other side, the creation side.  Let me tell you about what it’s like being one of those people, and working in a place where it is our job to make you listen to us.

As one of the many interns that enter the industry each summer, I am not yet invulnerable to all advertisements.  I still walk around the office doe-eyed trying to sneak a peek into what everyone else is working on, trying to take it all in.  Regardless of what client we are currently working on, each and every ad requires loads of creativity and work, trying to make sure the ad will not only make the client happy, but also be effective.  Greg Parker, our VP of Client Services, said that “attention to detail, an organizational approach…and good communication” are essential to success in the business, and are things I witness at Bayard daily. There are rounds and rounds of meetings with copy writers and art departments that an ad has to go through before a mock-up of a campaign is even presented to the client—all of which is unbeknownst to John Doe while surfing through Google or walking down the street.

Times SquareThe competition for consumers’ attention increases as the amount of digital platforms does.  No longer are these the times of print-only advertisements.  The many screens that a person uses are all now hubs for advertisements.  Companies now need to expand their capabilities and cater to all of these screens, and each type of person that uses them. The task of making a campaign that flows easily across these platforms (website, print, mobile device, social media, etc.) is not an easy one, yet it is required to keep up with competition today.

With any company, you need to find your target demographic and aim for them in a way that the consumers will be most receptive.  Many of our trucking customers target their potential clients through different job websites or Google, on both computer and mobile devices.  We need to cater to all of these devices seamlessly, in order to reach their potential clients in the most efficient manner—more than 55% of adult cell owners use the internet on their mobile phones (The Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project). A perfect example of this is the campaign we created for the Swift Transportation Company (check it out on your mobile device, or tablet or on your computer at joinswift.com.)times-square-billboards-cc

The standards that advertisers are held to increase dramatically whilst in the city.  Times Square more easily represents the direction that advertisements are heading in: larger than life.  This could be physically, in the deliverance, or in the copy itself.  Everyone knows our society is becoming more risqué; some of the things that are socially acceptable today wouldn’t have been appropriate even 10 years ago.  People are pulling out all of the stops to be innovative.  Maybe things are just as controversial as they were in the past, but with the Internet, we are now all able to join in on the conversation.

The future of advertising, according to Harvard Business Review, is advertisements as content—not advertisements interrupting content.  Dana Rousmaniere writes, “Marketing will be personalized, customized, and adapted to what (we) have expressed as (our) wishes or opt-ins…Customers will be forming relationships with brands that are built on trust” (http://blogs.hbr.org/hbr/hbreditors/2013/05/a_futurist_looks_at_the_future.html.) Does this mean there will no longer be pop ups, or advertisement blimps stopping us in our tracks? Only time will tell.

Deborah Correa, our copywriter, gave me advice that applies to the entire industry today: “Figure out how to be creative with not creative stuff.”  She’s right.  It’s potentially multi-million dollar advice.