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What Is It Like to Work at an Advertising Agency?

What is agency life like in marketing and advertising?

Agency life is a big mystery to students and to some who work on the in-house or freelance side of advertising. Somewhere along the way, most of us pick up this notion that working at an agency is the dream job.

(There’s glamorous photoshoots and clients with big budgets!)

And while there is some truth to those perceptions, there’s much more that goes into what we do. So for those of you who are curious about what agency life is all about, here are some insights:

  • You will get projects that don’t interest you. But if you keep an open mind and insist on product excellence, you can still produce something you’re proud of.
  • Not every project comes with a big budget. However, it always comes with the expectation of delivering the best solution.  
  • The variety of projects and clients that you work with can be both refreshing and exhausting.
  • Chances are, the working space is wicked cool.
  • Your co-workers are your greatest assets. The level of knowledge and experience that is held within an agency is mind-blowing. (Seriously, don’t think about it for too long!) Having this resource sitting around you every day pushes you to work harder and do the best work possible.
  • If you are a designer, learning to take constructive criticism is key. The larger the agency, the more people there are who will need to review your work. And while it might be hard to hear criticism, it is necessary to make the best product.
  • Don’t expect to clock out at 5 o’clock everyday. Unlike in-house advertising, the number of clients and projects can vary. Given this fluctuation, there are times when the agency will find itself with back-to-back deadlines that will require you to work after-hours. But if you’re lucky, the agency you work for will be as awesome as BBR, and they will compensate you with dinner or comp time in exchange for your hard work!
  • You’ll work hard, but you’ll also play hard. Before I started at BBR, I never would have imagined working at a place that encourages workplace excursions. I’ve blasted my peers with water balloons, completed my first rock-climbing wall and bounced my heart out at a trampoline park–all while doing this with colleagues.
  • Following internal processes is key to prevent chaos and maintain a happy office.
  • You will need to develop your own voice. This is crucial to working with big personalities and to produce excellent work.

So if you’re up for a fast-paced environment, the challenge of tight deadlines, the process of collaboration and looking to bond with your co-workers over a plate of potluck tacos, then agency life could be the perfect work environment for you!