Current Issue 13thFebruary 2016 - 19 February 2016, i.e. No. 45


Dr. Pradeep Nair

Advertising and publicity are the means of informing as well as influencing the general public to buy products or services through visual or oral messages. A product or service is advertised to create awareness in the minds of potential buyers. Some of the commonly used media for advertising and publicity are T.V., radio, websites, newspapers, magazines, bill-boards, hoardings etc. As a result of economic liberalization and the changing social trends advertising and publicity industry has shown rapid growth in the last decade.

     Advertising and publicity is one of the aspects of mass communication. Advertising and publicity is actually brand-building exercises through effective communication and is essentially a service industry. It helps to create demand, promote marketing system and boost economic growth. Thus advertising and publicity forms the basis of marketing. 

     Advertising and publicity plays a significant role in today’s highly competitive world. A career in dvertisement/publicity is quite glamorous and at the same time challenging with more and more agencies opening up every day. Whether its brands, companies, personalities or even voluntary or religious organizations, all of them use some form of advertising or publicity in order to be able to communicate with the target audience. The salary structure in advertising and publicity sector is quite high and if you have the knack for it one can reach the top. It is an ideal profession for a creative individual who can handle work-pressure.

The Scope

According to the Job Statistics, over 2,50,000 people are presently working in the advertising and publicity industry. This number is expected to grow due to two important trends. First is the mega merger among advertising/publicity agencies. This trend has been fueled by agencies’ desire to increase market share by offering more services such as sophisticated market research, media buying, and in-house production facilities to the clients. The second trend has been spurred by an increase in international businesses and global marketing. Advertising and publicity agencies are moving quickly to set-up international subsidiaries to assist clients who have gone global.

     So, today, the advertising and publicity industry has a more stable environment but a highly competitive market. The job projections for the year 2011-2012 suggest a growth of over 30% for marketing research analysts, advertising managers, and visual artists. Nevertheless, employers will continue to be highly selective. The most motivated, energetic, well-organized candidates with top-notch analytic and communication skills will land the best jobs.

Where to Study and the Eligibility

     Most advertising and publicity agencies recruit candidates with a formal management or advertising/mass communication qualification. Preference is given for MBA’s for posts in the market research, client servicing and media planning departments. In the creative department, on the other hand, a graduate with a command of the language of communication plus knowledge of designing packages like Photoshop, coral draw or fine arts is the requirement.
     There are also specialized courses in advertising/mass communication at diploma and post-graduation level for which the basic qualification is graduation. However, advertising is also offered as a subject for the graduate degree course in mass communication studies at certain institutions for which minimum qualification is 10+2. In addition there are also certificate courses for which 10+2 is enough.

     Basic qualities like creativity and flair for writing or ability to translate ideas into a visual format are required for making a successful career in this field. The aspirant should have an insight into the interests of people from all walks of life, ability to work as part of team, mental and physical toughness to be able to withstand high pressure and criticism, must be sociable and have calm temperament. Market and media researchers should have an analytical and logical brain. Those in creative field should possess artistic abilities to make the advertisements appealing to the masses.

     The list* of Indian Universities/Media institutes offering a Post-Graduate degree/diploma course in Advertising are as follows:

S. No. Name of the University/Institute Course Offered
1 Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. P.G. Diploma in Advertising & PR
2 Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism, Bhopal. M.A. in Advertising and Marketing Management
3 Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu P.G. Diploma in Advertising & PR
4 Madurai Kamraj University, Tamil Nadu Master of Advertising & PR
5 Punjabi University, Patiala P.G. Diploma in Advertising & PR
6 Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad P.G. Diploma in Advertising and Certificate courses in Advertising
7 Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati Master of Science in Advertising
8 Guru Jambheshwar University, Hisar M.A. in Advertising
9 Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi P.G. Diploma in Advertising
10 Lucknow University, Lucknow P.G. Diploma in Advertising & PR
* The above list is indicative only.

Job Prospects & Career Options
     Career opportunities in advertising include openings in advertising and publicity agencies; advertising department in private or public sector companies; in advertising sections of newspapers, journals, magazines; commercial section of radio and television; market research organizations etc. One can also do freelancing.

     Advertising field offers a range of lucrative, interesting careers. The job in this field is categorized into two broad areas, Executive and Creative. Executive side includes Client Servicing, Market Research and Media Research. Creative side consists of copywriters, scriptwriters, visualizers, photographers and typographers.

  1. Executive Department

     The Executive Department understands client needs, finds new business and retains existing business, selects the appropriate media, analyses timing and placement of advertisements and negotiate the financial aspects of the deal. Creative department creates the advertisement copy. They verbalize and visualize the specific need of the client.

A.  Client Servicing
     The Client Servicing department is the link between the client and the agency. It is an important part of any advertising firm like what the heart is to the body. This department is responsible for meeting prospective clients and getting business for the company. It involves a study of the client, the product and the market; an analysis of consumer behaviour and marketing; knowledge of all available media and their cost effectiveness, and a strategic plan to be presented to the client. Those in client servicing must therefore interact with clients, gather information, oversee research where necessary, gauge consumer attitudes and on the basis of all these informations work with the various departments of the advertising agency to formulate the most appropriate and effective advertising strategy within the specified budget.

     To be an effective client-servicing person, the candidate has to have a thorough knowledge of the client’s business and also know his weak points so that, through advertising and communications, the gaps could be minimized.

     An Accounts Executive who works in the client servicing department takes care of all the monitory dealings. He/she should know the most effective way to advertise client’s product or service i.e. the media and their cost effectiveness. Account executives should also have an idea about market research and target audiences.

B.  Market Research
     Every good advertising plan, start with research. This is the department which surveys the market, analyses consumer behaviour about a product or service. The research people in an advertising agency are involved with collection of data- information about the consumer, the market, and existing competition and so on. The research studies provide basic information to the manufacturer, for planning a new product.

     If you are a graduate in Business Management or hold a degree in Statistics/Operations Research, you can go for market researching jobs in advertising and publicity industry.

C. Media Planning & Buying

     Responsibility of media planning department in an advertising and publicity agency starts at the point when the advertisement is complete. Media Department is responsible for the planning, scheduling, booking and purchase of space and time (in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV, and outdoor hoardings). The media department must therefore devise the most effective use for an advertising budget to effectively and economically transmit a campaign message to the target audience. This department consists of the following:

     i.   Media Planners: The people who decide the different media where the advertisements would be featured in order to get maximum viewership.
     ii. Media Buyer: The people who have to negotiate to buy space in the Press, or time on electronic media at the best rates for which he/she has to understand the buying as well as the latest selling trends.

2. Creative Department

     The Creative Department designs and conceptualizes the advertisement. This consists of copywriting department and art department. Copywriting department works on text for the ad and themes for campaign. Art department visualizes the campaign.

A.      Copywriters
     The Copywriter evolves a theme for the campaign and provides the text for the advertisements. He/she is responsible for making the advertisements look attractive and delivering the message to the point. Copywriters work out the campaign slogan, jingles, scripts and promotional literature of the product or service as well as proposals, concept notes and film treatments. They are also expected to edit all textual matter for factual, syntax and typesetting discrepancies before it goes into the production. In some agencies, specialists called Typographers are appointed for making the format of textual matter, the fonts, lettering etc.

     Copywriters need to have a flair for writing backed up by the knowledge of advertising and oral communication skills, to become successful. They also need to have skill in analyzing clients’ needs, and research skills for finding out about the products and services they are helping to sell. Problem-solving and time-management skills are important.

B.  Visualizers

     The Visualizers work on the visual concepts and decides how the advertisement shall eventually look. They do the overall layout of message including graphics, sketching etc. To be a visualizer, one must be artistic. A degree or diploma in Applied Arts or Fine Arts as well as the knowledge of designing software like Photoshop, Illustrator, Free Hand and Corel Draw etc. are often the required qualifications.

C.  Photographers
     To work in an advertising/publicity agency, the Photographers should have an idea about different shot angles, composition and lighting effects. Good technical ability and knowledge of advance camera techniques and lenses are essential.


     Job positions and earnings in an advertising and publicity agency vary with its size and turnover. Accredited agencies have a large set up while small agencies may have just a handful of employees looking after all the various jobs. The earnings range from Rs. 10,000 to 25,000 at initial level. Advertising people having a good deal of experience and creativity could earn more than any other profession.

The author is Research Scientist in Anwar Jamal Kidwai Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi-110025, e-mail:;, 

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