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The advertising process

Interested in learning more about what our industry has to offer? Read on to find out about the sector, the advertising process and the sort of talent we are looking for.

Do you want to be at the heart of the UK’s creative industries? Do creativity and business appeal to you equally? Do you want to create strategies and ideas which enter popular culture, build brands, connect consumers and drive businesses?

Advertising is one of the most dynamic sectors in the economy, employing over 250,000 individuals in the UK. It's fast-moving; online advertising is now 25% of total expenditure and the UK is ahead of both the USA and the rest of Europe in its adoption of digital.

Advertising is also a dominant player in the UK's creative economy and is an important link in the demand and supply chain between big business, media, creative arts and entertainment.

The 250 agencies in IPA membership provide a brand communications innovation hub to over 5,000 blue chip businesses, public sector organisations, social enterprises and charities.

 To find out more about the business of advertising, and how to deliver payback for advertising investment, check out the IPA’s collection of brand films and effectiveness cases at

 The Process:

From Brief to Research

Once the brief has been received from the client, research will take place. This will include looking at some of the following - the advertisers’ service or product will be compared with the competition, their ranking in the market-place will be looked at, as will consumers’ perceptions of their brand in comparison to their competitors’. The advertising and media agencies will also analyse the competitors’ advertising.

From Research to Plan

Using the research, the media agency will identify who the target audience is and the media that should be used to reach that target audience in the most cost effective way.
Together, the agencies will, together, make recommendations on which markets are to be reached, distribution changes, pricing and which media channels will be used to deliver the message.

From Plan to Execution

The agency’s creative people will have the job of converting the advertising communication into words and pictures. The copywriter will, as the name suggests, write the copy, whilst the art director will visually implement the copywriter’s message. Whilst the Advertising agency will be involved at every stage of the production of the commercials, they won’t actually do the filming or taping – that will be done by outside production companies.  The traffic department within the advertising agency will ensure that the commercials are ready on time and that the client and legal approvals have been granted.

From Execution to Analyzing Campaign Effectiveness

Once the advertisement or commercial has run, the media agency will verify this and check its performance.

Go to our case studies  page for more information. From here, you can visit our collection of some 1,000 effectiveness case studies, all of which are available for download from this site at £10.00 each to students or £40.00 to non members of the IPA. You can view videos and other creative work associated with winning case studies by visiting our Effectiveness Awards showcase. You can also view, comment on creative work from our member agencies by visiting our Creative Gallery

New talent for a new economy

Jobs in advertising are changing to reflect the needs of a global digital economy and the industry is now seeking graduates from a wider range of disciplines than ever before.

We are looking for applicants, across all degree disciplines, who can oscillate between linear and lateral thinking, in order to find solutions to complex problems. We call this Diagonal Thinking™. To assess your own ability go to

We are providing an increasing number of roles in user experience design, web development and evaluation analytics, account and media planning, real time media buying, project management, creative technology and econometrics. To find out more, please see Perspectives, an online resource containing information about different careers in advertising, interviews with industry game-changers, and general advice:

In these new areas, we are particularly keen to attract:

  • statisticians, mathematicians and computer scientists with commercial intuition to develop online trading platforms;
  • network engineers and behavioural scientists to create and develop new insights, management systems and user experience models to link communications;
  • economists and econometricians with an interest in the communications mix to demonstrate the business impact of alternative strategies and tactics;
  • biologists, psychologists and sociologists with an interest in human behaviour to develop new models of segmentation and channel navigation;
  • physicists, philosophers and linguists with an interest in developing ways of doing business that are socially and commercially viable ways of doing business.


Last updated 09/12/2015

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