How To Get Ahead in Advertising

From somebody who works in advertising, take it from me, most of it is torture. But here are some handy tips of how to bastardise what's in vogue and get ahead of the pack.
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I work in advertising. In fact, you may know me by my trademark catchy slogans such as: ‘Save Money On This Thing’ and ‘20% off.’ I was led to believe from the telly that advertising was a glamorous profession entirely populated by sexy, good-looking people drunk out of their minds on Martinis. OK, so occasionally Darrin from Bewitched might pop up and freak out about the Petersen account, but apart from that it would be a riot of fags, booze, steak dinners and shagging.

Sadly, though, the advertising industry is nothing like Mad Men, just as sitting at home in your pants all day watching Loose Women is nothing like Desperate Housewives. For every cool cats in Ikea ad there’s a DFS ad. For every million-dollar Honda extravaganza, there’s a Moonpig.

The problem is that most of the time, any brilliant ideas that are flying around are immediately zapped by the droning, humourless, corporate Insect-o-cutor called The Client. Most clients wouldn’t know a good idea if it rogered them up the arse with a broom handle to the tune of ‘Hope It’s Chips, It’s Chips’. So creatively barren are they that you may as well just get a gorilla to play drums and have done with it - except that’s been done already. Still, if you’re a frustrated creative, here a few current advertising trends that should tide you over in the absence of anything more original…


Think of an animal. Let’s say… a squirrel. Call it Boris. Give it a funny foreign accent. Go to the pub.

Transitional ads

Thanks to the successful yet uniquely depressing John Lewis ad - where a woman goes through all of life’s stages surrounded by nice garden furniture and wine glasses - everyone wants a faux profound entire-life-in-30-seconds advert. Add a winsome cover version of a heavy metal classic to add  ‘emotion’ and you’ve got teary-eyed 50 year old women battering down the door trying to buy towels.

"Sadly, the advertising industry is nothing like Mad Men, just as sitting at home in your pants all day watching Loose Women is nothing like Desperate Housewives."

Impressive yet pointless stunts

Fancy chucking 3 million bouncy balls down a hill? Yeah, go on. It’ll be cool. Or maybe you could set off some paint bombs in an abandoned building? OR you could draw a massive corn circle in the shape of a cock and film it from space. As long as it’s big, memorable and means fuck all – go for it.

Integrated Bollocks

Clients are about as knowledgeable about viral marketing as The Care Bears are about rimming, but they all know they want something edgy. Like a monkey tap dancing. Or someone skateboarding off a cliff. Or a child dressed as Lady Gaga singing Poker Face into a hairbrush in a depressing kitchen in Widnes. Even if your client makes something shit like ping pong balls, they will request a fully integrated campaign featuring a ping pong ball Youtube ad, a ping pong ball app, a ping pong ball themed Glee-style flashmob on the tube and a ‘WE LOVE PING PONG BALLS’ Facebook page where you can vote for your favourite fucking ping pong ball.

Yes, it’s all very depressing. But eager young creatives shouldn’t despair. Whether you’re at a big London agency or Pissflaps Digital Concepts in Carlisle, you’re young. You’re keen. You’ve got the brains. One day, YOU will dream up an iconic ad, right up there with ‘You Can’t Get Better Than a Kwik Fit Fitter’. Something that will sweep the nation and get millions of people clicking the ‘Like’ button. After that, you’ll be so loaded you’ll be able set up your own agency and fill it with sexy people and Martinis and nice chairs. Until then, though, put down your iPhone, get off your arse, and start setting up Boris The Squirrel’s Twitter account.

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