Recently, a college student reached out to Brum Advertising for a school project. We thought we’d share her questions and Brum’s founder, Alan Brumbeloe’s answers – to give you some insight into what exactly an advertising executive does all day!
1.What made you consider a job in Advertising?
When I was a kid, I loved watching and listening to commercials. I would record them with my tape recorder and play them over and over, memorizing them. To this day, I can still quote verbatim commercials like Time Life’s Old West hard-bound book series and the rapid-talking People Magazine commercials to name just a couple. My mom had also been in advertising during my school-age years, selling and creating newspaper ads in North Carolina and Virginia. My love for advertising continued into my college years through the early `90s, where I had my first radio gig as a local talk-show host. I sold advertising for the show and produced my own commercials. I was nurturing my childhood love for advertising and having fun doing it!
So, Brum Advertising agency really kind of fell in my lap while working for News-Talk 960 WERC in Birmingham, when a radio advertising client of mine began talking about placing some of his ad dollars on another radio station. I told my client that I’d be happy to help him do that. This was my first move venturing on my own. I asked my local manager if he was fine with me doing that on the side, and to my very pleasant surprise, he said he was fine with that! So I officially began Brum Advertising agency in Birmingham, AL in July of 1999. I had several years of radio-production and client-relations experience, and I understood and was intrigued by how the agency business operated, having worked with several agencies over the years in radio. During the first couple of years of our agency, we only did radio advertising, but very quickly began handling Television, Print, and Direct Mail.
Around 2005, we began doing Public Relations (PR) for our clients as opportunities presented themselves. We would send out press releases to try to procure coverage, stories, and interviews. We would then follow up with the media outlets to press for TV interviews, stories and coverage for clients as they had things that seemed worthy of gaining the public’s attention and promoting the client’s business. Today, we regularly do both Advertising and PR for our clients in Birmingham and across the U.S. We have also moved into web design, SEO, and SEM in more recent times, beginning around 2009, and we currently are doing more and more digital work for clients.
2.Describe your job and duties.
Any and everything! Let’s take today for example: My day started off sending a couple of approved TV and radio commercials to their respective stations. These were commercials we had created for the client a few days ago.
I then emailed with a client about lining up Jimmy Buffet tickets he’d requested from one of the stations on which we place media buys. Working on and always improving client relationships is the key to a successful marketing agency/client partnership. I will be producing another radio commercial in just a few minutes and will hopefully finish that before lunch. Then, in the afternoon, I will be working on a web-blog video. After those tasks are complete, I’ll email several clients and have a regular weekly meeting with our SEO/SEM manager, Jen, to go over this past week’s SEO/SEM client work and this week’s upcoming work.
Some days, I will be out of the office and on location with a client doing a TV shoot, either at their place of business or in a TV studio – or I may be working with a client on recording a new radio spot. The work we do as ad agents varies greatly; you have to be willing and ready to switch gears quickly in this industry. One thing is for sure, this job never gets boring – every day is different. It’s fast paced and you have to maintain flexibility and be highly responsive.
3.Where did you receive your college degree and what was your area of study?
I attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where I received a Communications Degree and a minor in Political Science. Then I went to Regent University for a Law Degree and a Master’s in Public Policy, which I wisely did not complete, got married, moved to beautiful Birmingham, Alabama, got into advertising, and never looked back.
4.What is the hardest thing about Ad Agency Work?
None of it is rocket science, so none of it is really that hard. Initially, maybe one of the hardest things about the PR side of agency work is that you worry you won’t be taken seriously when you approach a station for an interview; but after you’ve done PR for a while and you learn the ropes, you realize that news departments are actually looking for opportunities to fill space in their newscasts and on their special-interest soft-news programs. They will often entertain any angle presented to them for an interview that seems like it could be interesting for their viewers.
5.What was the most exciting thing you’ve done as an Advertising Executive?
It’s always a lot of fun – but not as glamorous as they portray on Mad Men! The most exciting thing I have done in my Advertising career probably is the day I spent with Football College Hall of Famer, Desmond Howard, for our client, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Alabama, when he came to town a few years ago for an event where we handled their PR, and also created a short video highlighting some of the great football moments of Desmond Howard’s career.
Advertising and marketing is always exciting, constantly changing, fast-paced, and fun! I love what I do!