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OK, kid, listen up. As you sit in your parents’ basement, wondering how exactly you’re going to parlay a degree in French lit into a one-way ticket out of your parents’ basement, let me just ask you something.

Have you ever considered a career in advertising?

I know. Eeeew. Why would you waste a perfectly good degree in French lit on something as dumb as advertising? Eeeew. I know, I know.

But hear me out.

To start with, you get to be creative. I mean, not as creative as you’ll need to be to convince that cool tech startup that your paper on Flaubert—is Flaubert even a real person?—makes you the perfect hire to work on their next-gen dating app, but still. Banner ads don’t exactly write themselves.

What’s that? Google has billiard tables? Well, so do advertising agencies. We have tons of them. Did you know there’s a direct correlation between funny banner ads and snooker? There totally is! And if you play your cards right, you might even get hired by an agency with a rooftop patio. Or a basketball court!

We also have sheet cake. Sheet cake is a big thing at advertising agencies. Someone is always going around yelling, “Sheet cake in the coffee room!” Name an occasion, and we’ve got a sheet cake for it. Priscilla had her baby last night? Sheet cake. Suzy and Geraldo’s AR activation got short-listed for an award? Sheet cake. It’s crazy. I know Google has a gazillion snacks never more than a heartbeat away, but seriously. Sheet cake.

We in advertising are big into purpose. You probably didn’t know that, but it’s true.”

You know what else is cool? We in advertising are big into purpose. You probably didn’t know that, but it’s true. Purpose is all we talk about. Patagonia this, Patagonia that. I know you want to make the world a better place. And what better way to start than by doing a commercial that champions the end of toxic masculinity. OK, so it’s an ad for razors. But hey, it’s so much bigger than that!

I know you’ve probably heard about the crazy hours we keep in this line of work. I won’t lie to you. We put in some insanely long days. But that’s only a problem if you’ve got a family you need to get home to. Some of us have a hard time putting the pitch of the century up against reading Curious George to our five-year-olds for the 321st night in a row. You, on the other hand, are so... so... free!

What a wonderful feeling it must be, knowing that Netflix isn’t going to chew you out if you get home after midnight. Neither will your goldfish.

And speaking of French lit, have you heard of Cannes? That’s in France. I don’t imagine you’ve been there, what with those student loans and all. Well, let me tell you. It’s a very cool place. We in advertising flock there every year. We drink wine. We eat like kings and queens. And if we’re really lucky, we win these little statues shaped like lions! Seriously, I think your French professor would be impressed.

I know you like to stay out late. Hey, you and your friends are young. I say live it up! You can sleep late into the afternoon. Better enjoy the moment, kid. Because once you land that first job, you won’t want to even think about coming in late. Employers tend to hate that. On the other hand... advertising!!! I am so not kidding. Nobody comes in before 10. Of course, nobody leaves before 10. But we talked about this already, and your goldfish will be cool with that. So, you know. Win-win.

Did you know there’s a direct correlation between funny banner ads and snooker? There totally is!”

Are you still with me? Good. Because I’ve saved the best part for last. The perks! Nowhere on the planet will you find swag as cool as the kind we get in advertising. As Dave Barry would say, “I am not making this up.” Do you know who Dave Barry is? Right. Anyway, the perks. I once asked for a Porsche Carrera Turbo. I got it! I could tell you about the crazy bonuses, the Equinox gym membership, the complimentary Lime scooter, the free gourmet lunches just like the ones they have at Google. Who knows, if you play your cards right, you might even get a Gulfstream jet, a personal valet and a house in the Hamptons. OK, fine, I might have made that last part up.

I know what you’re thinking: What do I know about advertising? I’m a French lit major. But see, that’s the thing. Advertising is a very inclusive business. French lit. Anthropology. Organic chemistry. You name it, and someone in advertising has it on their resume. Only, you might want to get yourself into an ad school. No, not might. You will definitely want to do the ad school thing. But other than that, we welcome you with open arms! And if it doesn’t work out, well, there’s always Uber. Or Netflix. Or Tesla.

Just remember what I told you. Sheet cake. ca

Ernie Schenck (ernieschenckcreative.prosite.com) is a freelance writer, a creative director and a regular contributor to CA’s Advertising column. An Emmy finalist, three-time Kelley nominee and a perennial award winner—the One Show, Clios, D&AD, Emmys and Cannes—Schenck worked on campaigns for some of the most prestigious brands in the world in his roles at Hill Holliday/Boston, Leonard Monahan Saabye and Pagano Schenck & Kay. He lives with his wife and daughter in Jamestown, Rhode Island.
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