Advertising can take many forms (TV commercials, radio spots, print ads, and outdoor billboards to name a few), but collectively they are referred to as “the creative.”
Development of the creative is typically done in teams of two. A Copywriter (words) and an Art Director (visuals) work together to create rough versions of the ads including: TV storyboards, print layouts, and radio scripts. Creative teams can work successfully together for years -- often hired, fired and promoted together.
The Creative Director , who approves all the work before it is shared with the client, has a tremendous influence on all the work an agency develops, ensuring that the work is unique and appealing while strategically on target.
Once an idea for a radio or TV ad is ready to be brought to life, a Producer joins the team. The producer coordinates with the outside resources necessary to produce finished ads. He estimates the cost to produce the ads, writes contracts, and coordinates the production from start to finish.
The Traffic Manager performs a similar function for print ads, estimating costs and coordinating these jobs from start to finish. In addition, the Traffic Manager is also responsible for getting all ad materials where they need to go.
Typically, the largest portion of a marketer’s budget goes towards buying media. This places a huge responsibility on the media planning and buying department.
Media Planners determine what combination of TV, Radio, Magazines, etc., would reach as many target consumers as possible at the lowest cost. The result of their research and analysis is the Media Plan, a calendar of scheduled advertising
The measurements they use include:
Reach: what percentage of the target audience will be exposed to the ad
Frequency: how many times the average consumer in the target audience will be exposed to the ad
Effective Reach: also referred to as ‘3+ reach,’ quantifies the percentage of the target audience that will be exposed to the ad more than three times
Media Buyers take the media plan recommended by the planners and negotiate its purchase as inexpensively as possible.
Advertising agencies began actively doing research in the 1920s. This research was focused on answering specific business questions about products and consumer preference.
Research was typically not an integral part of the creative development process until the introduction of Account Planning.
Account Planning began in England during the 1960s. It focuses on consumer attitudes and branding for the goal of creating a unique identity for the client’s brand which is distinct from the competition and compelling to the target consumer.
Research centers around focus groups where small groups of consumers tell agencies a lot more about what consumers think and feel than a nationwide survey.
Account Planners use this information to weave facts together into compelling stories. These stories can form the basis of a brand positioning, a unique product benefit or perhaps even a commercial storyline.
Many agencies have created unique planning processes. For example, J Walter Thompson relies on TTB (Thompson Total Branding), McCann has the Brand Footprint, and Bates offers the Brand Wheel.
Chronology of how most advertising is generally created:
The process is collaborative with multiple agency departments involved at key points along the way. This may seem a bit chaotic at times, but the process encourages input from diverse points of view, stimulates healthy debate and allows strong ideas to emerge regardless of the source.