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Advertising and Public Relations Services

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Public relations firms help secure favorable public exposure for their clients, advise them in the case of a sudden public crisis, and design strategies to help them attain a certain public image.
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Content Preview
Advertising and Public Relations Services
(NAICS 5418)
SIGNIFICANT POINTS
• Competition for many jobs will be keen because the glamour of the industry traditionally attracts
many more jobseekers than there are job openings.
• California and New York together account for about 1 in 5 firms and more than 1 in 4 workers in
the industry.
• Layoffs are common when accounts are lost, major clients cut budgets, or agencies merge.
Nature of the Industry
Firms in the advertising and public relations services industry
companies commonly solicit bids from ad agencies to develop
prepare advertisements for other companies and organizations
advertising for them. Next, ad agencies offering their services to
and design campaigns to promote the interests and image of
the company often make presentations. After winning an ac-
their clients. This industry also includes media representatives—
count, various departments within an agency—such as creative,
firms that sell advertising space for publications, radio, televi-
production, media, and research—work together to meet the cli-
sion, and the Internet; display advertisers—businesses engaged
ent’s goal of increasing sales.
in creating and designing public display ads for use in shopping
Widespread public relations services firms can influence
malls, on billboards, or in similar media; and direct mail advertis-
how businesses, governments, and institutions make decisions.
ers. A firm that purchases advertising time (or space) from media
Often working behind the scenes, these firms have a variety of
outlets, thereafter reselling it to advertising agencies or individ-
functions. In general, firms in public relations services advise
ual companies directly, is considered a media buying agency.
and implement public exposure strategies. For example, a public
Divisions of companies that produce and place their own adver-
relations firm might issue a press release that is printed in news-
tising are not considered part of this industry.
papers across the country. Firms in public relations services
In 2004, there were about 47,000 advertising and public rela-
offer one or more resources that clients cannot provide them-
tions services establishments in the United States. About 4 out
selves. Usually this resource is expertise in the form of knowl-
of 10 write copy and prepare artwork, graphics, and other cre-
edge, experience, special skills, or creativity; but sometimes the
ative work, and then place the resulting ads on television, radio,
resource is time or personnel that the client cannot spare. Cli-
or the Internet or in periodicals, newspapers, or other advertis-
ents of public relations firms include all types of businesses,
ing media. Within the industry, only these full-service establish-
institutions, trades, and public interest groups, and even high-
ments are known as advertising agencies. About 1 in 6 were
profile individuals. Clients are large and small for-profit firms in
public relations firms. Many of the largest agencies are interna-
the private sector; State, local, or Federal Governments; hospi-
tional, with a substantial proportion of their revenue coming
tals, universities, unions, and trade groups; and foreign govern-
from abroad.
ments or businesses.
Most advertising firms specialize in a particular market niche.
Public relations firms help secure favorable public exposure
Some companies produce and solicit outdoor advertising, such
for their clients, advise them in the case of a sudden public crisis,
as billboards and electric displays. Others place ads in buses,
and design strategies to help them attain a certain public image.
subways, taxis, airports, and bus terminals. A small number of
Toward these ends, public relations firms analyze public or inter-
firms produce aerial advertising, while others distribute circu-
nal sentiment about clients; establish relationships with the me-
lars, handbills, and free samples.
dia; write speeches and coach clients for interviews; issue press
Groups within agencies have been created to serve their
releases; and organize client-sponsored publicity events, such
clients’ electronic advertising needs on the Internet. Online ad-
as contests, concerts, exhibits, symposia, and sporting and char-
vertisements link users to a company’s or product’s Web site,
ity events.
where information such as new product announcements, con-
Lobbying firms, a special type of public relations firm, differ
tests, and product catalogs appears, and from which purchases
somewhat. Instead of attempting to secure favorable public
may be made.
opinion about their clients, they attempt to influence legislators
Some firms are not involved in the creation of ads at all;
in favor of their clients’ special interests. Lobbyists often work
instead, they sell advertising time or space on radio and televi-
for large businesses, industry trade organizations, unions, or
sion stations or in publications. Because these firms do not
public interest groups.
produce advertising, their staffs are mostly sales workers.
In an effort to attract and maintain clients, advertising and
Companies often look to advertising as a way of boosting
public relations services agencies are diversifying their servic-
sales by increasing the public’s exposure to a product or service.
es, offering advertising as well as public relations, sales, market-
Most companies do not have the staff with the necessary skills
ing, and interactive media services. Advertising and public rela-
or experience to create effective advertisements; furthermore,
tions services firms have found that highly creative work is par-
many advertising campaigns are temporary, so employers would
ticularly suitable for their services, resulting in a better product
have difficulty maintaining their own advertising staff. Instead,
and increasing their clients’ profitability.
189

Working Conditions
Most employees in advertising and public relations services work
in comfortable offices operating in a teamwork environment;
however, long hours, including evenings and weekends, are com-
mon. There are fewer opportunities for part-time work than in
many other industries; in 2004, 14 percent of advertising and
public relations employees worked part time, compared with 16
percent of all workers.
Work in advertising and public relations is fast-paced and
exciting, but it also can be stressful. Being creative on a tight
schedule can be emotionally draining. Some workers, such as
lobbyists, consultants, and public relations writers, frequently
must meet deadlines and consequently may work long hours at
times. Workers whose services are billed hourly, such as adver-
tising consultants and public relations specialists, are often un-
der pressure to manage their time carefully. In addition, frequent
meetings with clients and media representatives may involve
substantial travel.
Most firms encourage employees to attend employer-paid
time-management classes, which help reduce the stress some-
times associated with working under strict time constraints. Also,
with today’s hectic lifestyle, many firms in this industry offer or
provide health facilities or clubs to help employees maintain good
health.
Account management brings business to the agency and ulti-
In 2004, workers in the industry averaged 33.8 hours per
mately is responsible for the quality of the advertisement or pub-
week, a little higher than the national average of 33.7.
lic relations campaign. Account management workers carefully
monitor the activities of the other areas to ensure that every-
Employment
thing runs smoothly. Account managers and their assistants
The advertising and public relations services industry employed
analyze competitive activity and consumer trends, report client
425,000 workers in 2004. An additional 61,000 workers were self-
billing, forecast agency income, and combine the talents of the
employed.
creative, media, and research areas. The creative director over-
Although advertising and public relations services firms
sees the copy chief, art director, and their respective staffs. The
are located throughout the country, they are concentrated in the
media director oversees planning groups that select the com-
largest States and cities. California and New York together ac-
munication media—for example, radio, television, newspapers,
count for about 1 in 5 firms and more than 1 in 4 workers in the
magazines, Internet, or outdoor signs—to be used to promote
industry. Firms vary in size, ranging from one-person shops to
the organization, issue, product, or service.
international agencies employing thousands of workers. How-
In public relations firms, public relations managers direct
ever, 68 percent of all advertising and public relations establish-
publicity programs to a targeted public. They often specialize in
ments employ fewer than 5 employees (chart 1).
a specific area, such as crisis management—or in a specific in-
The small size of the average advertising and public rela-
dustry, such as health care. They use every available communi-
tions services firm demonstrates the opportunities for self-em-
cation medium in their effort to maintain the support of the spe-
ployment. It is relatively easy to open a small agency; in fact,
cific group upon whom their organization’s success depends,
many successful agencies began as one-person or two-person
such as consumers, stockholders, or the general public. For
operations.
example, public relations managers may clarify or justify the firm’s
About 76 percent of advertising and public relations em-
point of view on health or environmental issues to community or
ployees are 25 to 54 years of age. Very few advertising and
special interest groups. Public relations specialists handle or-
public relations services workers are below the age of 20, which
ganizational functions such as media, community, consumer, and
reflects the need for postsecondary training or work experience.
governmental relations; political campaigns; interest-group rep-
resentation; conflict mediation; or employee and investor rela-
Occupations in the Industry
tions. They prepare press releases and contact people in the
Management, business, and financial workers; professionals and
media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or
related workers; and sales and related workers account for more
television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine arti-
than 6 out of every 10 jobs in the industry (table 1). Employees
cles start on the desks of public relations specialists.
have varied responsibilities in agencies with only a few workers,
Working with an idea that account management obtains from
and the specific job duties of each worker often are difficult to
the client, the creative department brings the idea to life. For
distinguish. Workers in relatively large firms specialize more, so
example, an ad agency’s staff works together to transform a blank
the distinctions among occupations are more apparent.
piece of paper into an advertisement. As the idea takes shape,
Within advertising and public relations, the account man-
copywriters and their assistants write the words of ads—both
agement department links the agency and the client—it repre-
the written part of print ads as well as the scripts of radio and
sents the agency to the client, as well as the client to the agency.
television spots. Art directors and their assistants develop the
190

visual concepts and designs of advertisements. They prepare
Table 1. Employment of wage and salary workers in advertis-
ing and public relations services by occupation, 2004 and

pasteups and layouts for print ads and television storyboards,
projected change, 2004-14.
cartoon-style summaries of how an advertisement will appear.
(Employment in thousands)
They also oversee the filming of television commercials and photo
Employment,
Percent
sessions. Graphic designers use a variety of print, electronic,
2004
change,
and film media to create designs that meet clients’ commercial
Occupation
Number
Percent 2004-14
needs. Using computer software, they develop the overall lay-
Total, all occupations .............................
425
100.0
22.4
out and design of print ads for magazines, newspapers, journals,
corporate reports, and other publications. They also may pro-
Management, business, and financial
duce promotional displays and marketing brochures for prod-
occupations ............................................
66
15.6
29.1
General and operations managers .........
15
3.5
25.8
ucts and services, design distinctive company logos for prod-
Advertising and promotions managers ...
8
1.8
30.8
ucts and businesses, and develop signs and environmental graph-
Marketing managers ................................
4
0.9
35.1
Sales managers ......................................
3
0.8
27.9
ics—aesthetically pleasing signs that deliver a message, such
Public relations managers .......................
4
0.9
36.6
as a sunset to advertise a beach resort. An increasing number of
Purchasing agents, except wholesale,
graphic designers develop material to appear on the Internet.
retail, and farm products ........................
4
0.9
27.1
Accountants and auditors ......................
6
1.4
27.1
Workers in the research department try to understand the
desires, motivations, and ideals of consumers, in order to pro-
Professional and related
occupations
............................................
105
24.6
33.0
duce and place the most effective advertising or public relations
Computer programmers ..........................
5
1.1
3.7
campaign in the most effective media. Research executives com-
Market research analysts .......................
4
0.9
27.1
pile data, monitor the progress of internal and external research,
Art directors ............................................
10
2.3
27.1
Multi-media artists and animators ...........
6
1.4
39.8
develop research tools, and interpret and provide explanations
Graphic designers ...................................
22
5.2
38.9
of the data gathered. Research executives often specialize in
Merchandise displayers and
specific research areas and perform supervisory duties. Market
window trimmers ...................................
4
0.9
26.2
Public relations specialists ......................
22
5.2
39.8
research analysts are concerned with the potential sales of a
Editors ......................................................
3
0.8
27.1
product or service. They analyze statistical data on past sales to
Writers and authors ................................
8
1.8
21.0
predict future sales. They provide a company’s management
Sales and related occupations ............
95
22.4
24.0
with information needed to make decisions on the promotion,
Supervisors, sales workers ...................
6
1.5
17.5
distribution, design, and pricing of products or services.
Advertising sales agents ........................
43
10.2
27.2
Sales representatives, services,
Media planners gather information on the public’s viewing
all other ...................................................
8
2.0
27.1
and reading habits, and evaluate editorial content and program-
Sales representatives, wholesale and
ming to determine the potential use of media such as newspa-
manufacturing ........................................
10
2.4
27.1
Demonstrators and product promoters ..
19
4.4
22.4
pers, magazines, radio, television, or the Internet. The media
Telemarketers ..........................................
5
1.2
-1.0
staff calculates the numbers and types of people reached by
different media, and how often they are reached. Media buyers
Office and administrative support
occupations
............................................
118
27.8
8.3
track the media space and times available for purchase, negoti-
First-line supervisors/managers of office
ate and purchase time and space for ads, and make sure ads
and administrative support workers ......
8
1.8
15.2
Bookkeeping, accounting, and
appear exactly as scheduled. Additionally, they calculate rates,
auditing clerks ........................................
11
2.6
14.4
usage, and budgets. Advertising sales agents sell air time on
Customer service representatives .........
14
3.3
30.1
radio and television, and page space in print media. They gener-
Receptionists and information clerks ......
5
1.2
21.1
Production, planning, and
ally work in firms representing radio stations, television stations,
expediting clerks ....................................
6
1.5
25.8
and publications. Demonstrators promote sales of a product to
Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks ....
4
1.0
15.1
Secretaries and administrative
consumers, while product promoters try to induce retail stores
assistants ...............................................
18
4.3
14.9
to sell particular products and market them effectively. Product
Mail clerks and mail machine operators,
demonstration is an effective technique used by both to intro-
except postal service ............................
16
3.7
-34.9
Office clerks, general ..............................
13
3.1
13.1
duce new products or promote sales of old products because it
allows face-to-face interaction with potential customers.
Production occupations ........................
17
4.0
19.6
Office and administrative support occupations accounted
Printers ....................................................
8
1.8
18.1
for 28 percent of jobs in 2004. Positions ranged from secretaries
Transportation and material moving
and administrative assistants to financial clerks. The occupa-
occupations ............................................
13
3.1
22.0
Laborers and material movers, hand ......
9
2.1
19.6
tional composition of this group varies widely among agencies.
The remaining jobs in the industry were in service, construction
Note: May not add to totals due to omission of occupations with small
and extraction, production, transportation, and installation, main-
employment
tenance, and repair occupations.
departments of an agency, but these positions usually require
Training and Advancement
some experience. Completing an advertising-related internship
Most entry-level professional and managerial positions in ad-
while in school provides an advantage when applying for an
vertising and public relations services require a bachelor’s de-
entry-level position; in fact, internships are becoming a neces-
gree, preferably with broad liberal arts exposure.
sary step to obtaining permanent employment. In addition to an
Beginners in advertising usually enter the industry in the
internship, courses in marketing, psychology, accounting, sta-
account management or media department. Occasionally, entry-
tistics, and creative design can help prepare potential entrants
level positions are available in the market research or creative
for careers in this field.
191

Assistant account executive positions—the entry-level ac-
count management occupation in most firms—require a bache-
Outlook
lor’s degree in marketing or advertising, although some firms
Competition for many jobs will be keen because the glamour of
require a master’s degree in business administration.
the advertising and public relations services industry tradition-
Bachelor’s degrees are not required for entry-level positions
ally attracts many more jobseekers than there are job openings.
in the creative department. Assistant art directors usually need
Employment in the industry is projected to grow 22 percent over
at least a 2-year degree from an art or design school. Although
the 2004–14 period, compared with 14 percent for all industries
assistant copywriters do not need a degree, obtaining one helps
combined. New jobs will be created as the economy expands
to develop the superior communication skills and abilities re-
and generates more products and services to advertise. In-
quired for this job.
creased demand for advertising and public relations services
Assistant media planner or assistant media buyer also are
also will stem from growth in the number and types of media
good entry-level positions, but almost always require a bache-
outlets used to reach consumers, creating opportunities for peo-
lor’s degree, preferably with a major in marketing or advertising.
ple skilled in preparing material for presentation on the Internet.
Experienced applicants who possess at least a master’s degree
On the other hand, employment growth may be tempered by
usually fill research positions. Often, they have a background in
the increased use of more efficient nonprint media advertising,
marketing or statistics and years of experience. Requirements
such as Internet or radio, which could replace some workers.
for support services and administrative positions depend on the
Employment also may be adversely affected if legislation, aimed
job and vary from firm to firm.
at protecting public health and safety, further restricts advertis-
In public relations, employers prefer applicants with degrees
ing for specific products such as alcoholic beverages and tobac-
in communications, journalism, English, or business. Some 4-
co. In addition to new jobs created over the 2004-14 period, job
year colleges and universities have begun to offer a concentra-
openings also will arise as workers transfer to other industries or
tion in public relations. Because there is keen competition for
leave the workforce.
entry-level public relations jobs, workers are encouraged to gain
Layoffs are common in advertising and public relations ser-
experience through internships, co-op programs, or one of the
vices firms when accounts are lost, major clients cut budgets, or
formal public relations programs offered across the country.
agencies merge.
However, these programs are not available everywhere, so most
public relations workers get the bulk of their training on the job.
Earnings
At some firms, this training consists of formal classroom educa-
In 2004, nonsupervisory workers in advertising and public rela-
tion but, in most cases, workers train under the guidance of
tions services averaged $633 a week—significantly higher than
senior account executives or other experienced workers, gradu-
the $529 a week for all nonsupervisory workers in private indus-
ally familiarizing themselves with public relations work. Entry-
try. Earnings of workers in selected occupations in advertising
level workers often start as research or account assistants and
and public relations services appear in table 2.
may be promoted to account executive, account supervisor, vice
president, and executive vice president.
Table 2. Median hourly earnings of the largest occupations in
advertising and public relations services, May 2004

A voluntary accreditation program for public relations spe-
cialists is offered by the Public Relations Society of America.
Advertising
The program is a recognized mark of competency in the profes-
and public
relations
All
sion and requires that workers have been employed in the field
Occupation
services
industries
for several years.
General and operations managers ..................
$55.06
$37.22
Employees in advertising and public relations services should
Public relations specialists ...............................
24.25
21.07
have good people skills, common sense, creativity, communica-
Advertising sales agents .................................
21.59
19.37
tion skills, and problem-solving ability. Foreign language skills
Graphic designers ............................................
19.23
18.28
Executive secretaries and administrative
have always been important for those wanting to work abroad
assistants ........................................................
17.65
16.81
for domestic firms or to represent foreign firms domestically.
Bookkeeping, accounting, and
However, these skills are increasingly vital to reach linguistic
auditing clerks .................................................
15.15
13.74
Customer service representatives ..................
14.47
12.99
minorities in U.S. cities, such as Los Angeles, New York, Miami,
Office clerks, general .......................................
11.18
10.95
Houston, and Phoenix. New media, such as the Internet, are
Mail clerks and mail machine operators,
except postal service ......................................
9.76
10.76
creating opportunities to market products, but also are increas-
Demonstrators and product promoters ...........
8.42
9.95
ing the need for additional training for those already employed.
Keeping pace with technology is fundamental to success in the
industry. In addition, advertisers must keep in tune with the
In addition to a straight salary, many workers receive addi-
changing values, cultures, and fashions of the Nation.
tional compensation, such as profit sharing, stock ownership, or
Success in increasingly responsible staff assignments usu-
performance-based bonuses.
ally leads to advancement to supervisory positions. As workers
Only 2 percent of workers in advertising and public rela-
climb the organizational ladder, broad vision and planning skills
tions services belong to unions or are covered by union con-
become extremely important. Another way to get to the top in
tracts, compared with about 14 percent of workers in all indus-
this industry is to open one’s own firm. In spite of the difficulty
tries combined.
and high failure rate, many find starting their own business to be
personally and financially rewarding. Among the self-employed,
Sources of Additional Information
advancement takes the form of increasing the size and strength
For information about careers or training, contact:
of the company.
192

American Association of Advertising Agencies, 405
Information on these occupations can be found in the 2006-
Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10174.
07 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook:
Internet: http://www.aaaa.org
American Advertising Federation, 1101 Vermont Ave. NW.,

Artists and related workers
Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005.

Advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations,
Internet: http://www.aaf.org
and sales managers

Demonstrators, product promoters, and models
For more information on accreditation for public relations

Market and survey researchers
professionals, contact:

Public relations specialists
Public Relations Society of America, Inc., 33 Maiden Lane,

Television, video, and motion picture camera operators
New York, NY 10038-5150. Internet: http://www.prsa.org
and editors

Writers and editors
193

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