Advertising Is A Business Full of Generalists, Specialists, And Listlessness

One time, I mocked up a few ads for a client presentation because I knew where the line breaks looked best in the headlines for maximum effect. My CD (an Art Director by trade) did a few as well. When the client preferred my comps more than the typographically-challenged Creative Director’s comps, the CD said jokingly, “You’re fired.” (Which he went on to say unjokingly months later.) But in that case, I knew what I was doing. Even though I was a copywriter.

So how do you expand your skills in this business?

For professionals in advertising, there’s a constant struggle between being great at one’s job and becoming more well-rounded. If you’re determined to be incredible and irreplaceable at one thing, well, it’s tricky. Because no matter what that “one thing” might be, in advertising or marketing it’s gonna change — sooner rather than later. If you’re not learning new skills, you’re screwed. Even if it’s within your chosen discipline. For example, writing for the web is not the same as writing or print or radio. But it can be learned, and anyone who knows how to write well can adapt.

It’s the subject of my new column on Talent Zoo.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.