Advertising Job Roles

Please note that traditional, creative agencies (as opposed to modern, digital, interactive ones) have changed, significantly, to what they were, say ten or twenty years ago, and continue to change (due to the rise, mainly of digital / interactive media). In fact most of them now involve, to one degree or another, elements of the modern, digital, interactive agency. Therefore, this article is a general introduction, only, to the types of jobs available in ‘traditional, creative’ advertising agencies.

ACCOUNT PLANNER The account planner is responsible for:

1. Research. Carrying out research on the consumer, the brand and the market place. Quantitative research (facts / statistics) is important, but above all, qualitative research (making sense of the facts / statistics).

2. Disruptive thinking on the brand. The account planner must, in some way, advance the brand. He / she achieves this through creative thinking (disruptive thinking) exploring a plethora of ideas.

3. Being strategic minded about the brand. Once the account planner has done his / her research and figured out a ‘big’ marketing ‘idea’ for a campaign, he / she must then set out a strategy for communicating the ‘big’ marketing ‘idea’ to others and how they should proceed with the idea.

Account planning is very much a thinking role. You have to have a curious and inquisitive nature. Be interested in what makes people tick. And be interested and good at absorbing what is going on in the cultural / social world around you.

ACCOUNT HANDLER The account hander is responsible for being ‘the face’ of the advertising agency to the client. The account handler (or the account manager / account director) is normally the first person in the agency to receive the client’s brief. The account handler then communicates this to others in the agency. The account handler is responsible for dealing with the everyday concerns of the client. Of ensuring that work for the campaign is carried out on time and to the expected standards of the agency. And the account handler, also, has the important responsibility of building up a long-term relationship between agency and client.

Account handling is very much a ‘doing’ role. There is, of course, a lot of thinking involved as well … the account handler might come up a few marketing ideas of his / he own. But the (marketing) ‘thinking’ role belongs, in large part, to the account planner. In order to do well in account planning, account handlers have to be good with people, be goot at project management, negotiating, and more.

CREATIVE TEAM The creative team is made up of a copywriter and an art director (and the creative team will, normally, be backed up by people such as designers, art workers, junior copywriters and so on). The copywriter and the art director (or visualizer) are, normally, jointly, responsible for coming up with the creative concept (a creative concept which must be based around the account planner’s ‘big’ marketing ‘idea’). The copywriter is, usually, responsible for coming up with the strapline (slogan) for the campaign, as well as the more detailed copy to be found in print / brochure etc .. Just as the art director is, usually, responsible for coming up with the visual look of the campaign. But a copywriter will often wander into the territory of an art director, and vice-versa. There are no hard and fast rules.


Production. The big advertising agencies will often have their own production department (for finishing off and producing work in TV, print, brochure and so on).

Media Planner. Many traditional, creative advertising agencies will have their own media planners. Media planners are responsible for working out the best media platforms with which to use for an advertising campaign (in traditional, creative advertising agencies this would be for TV, radio, print and brochure, and for modern, digital, interactive advertising agencies, this would be for the Internet, mobile, digital signage, and so on, but increasingly, you will find media planners working across both traditional and modern media).

PR Executive. Many traditional, creative advertising agencies now have PR specialists (because PR / publicity is being used, increasingly, in proactive brand communication, as opposed to PR being about just reacting to negative situations).