Advertising agencies are self-contained structure. Within the advertising agency, there are departments and people, all essential to the movement of client projects and overall success of the agency. One department cannot work without another, as they are all interconnected and dependent on each other.
Think of an ad agency as a chair. The agency as whole, as an organization, is the seat. It’s the part of the chair people take most notice of; it’s where clients sit and relax. The departments are the legs, the support system. Like a chair, if one leg fails, the whole agency falls. In most agencies, these four legs, or departments:
Creative is responsible for creating the ads, from concept to final product. Within the creative department, there are designer and art directors, who are responsible for visual elements, and copywriter, who are responsible for coming up with wording. The accounts department creates a “creative brief”, or a document communicating the client’s project requests, which is then given to the creative department. The creatives then execute a concept, based on the creative brief, with several rounds of client revisions. Once the project exceeds clients’ expectations, the creative department packages the project in digital formats, which can be used for printing, TV broadcasting, digital advertising, and so on.
The accounts department acts as the liaison between the agency and the client. If the client requests a change to a project, account executives are responsible for passing on the information to the creative department. For example, if the client requests a color revision on an ad, the account executive assigned to that client, will inform the designer of the requested change. Once the revisions have been made by the creative department, the account executive will deliver the revised project the client, until completion.
Media is responsible for planning and buying media. Billboards, TV spots, magazine ads, ect. are all researched and purchased by the media department. The media department will evaluate a client’s product or service, determine it’s target market, then search for media that will has the highest exposure to that group of people. Once those are established, the media department will negotiate with ad sellers, such as TV networks, to get the fairest price on media.
Digital is the newest of the advertising agency departments. With the advent of social media, the digital department has become more and more integral to advertising, and thus the advertising agency. The digital department is responsible for planning and executing social media and internet advertising, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and retargeting campaigns. The digital department works closely with the accounts department, just as the creatives do, to ensure the client’s needs are being met, and efforts are resulting in effective brand communication.
Every television commercial, magazine ad, billboard, radio commercial, sponsorship, etc. is a result of these four departments working in conjunction.
As advertising and technologies continue to evolve, so will the ad agency. And though there are typically four departments within an agency, in today’s day and age, there is a possibility more departments will be added, in order to keep up with industry trends.