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Fame

How could an advertising sales career possibly make you famous? Well, think back to that coveted high-dollar account everyone in your office (and frankly, every ad rep in town) has been scrambling to get. You put together a killer presentation that knocked their socks off and created a brand new market for the company's most popular product. Of course, it didn't hurt that you brought them a box of luscious gourmet chocolates to scarf while they watched your dog and pony show. So as a result, you have achieved legendary status in your city. If only one could say as much for all of your dogs and ponies.

Your upward trajectory might also include a mention at the annual company dinner—or a small- or medium-sized blurb in an industry trade publication. If you work for a publication or agency with national or global reach, you might even snag a sales award for your Herculean achievements. Of course, the award will look snazzy on your mantel, but you're really lusting after the perks that might accompany the prize. Your company's budget will dictate its level of generosity, but sales award winners have been known to receive expense-paid trips or gift cards to high-end restaurants. On the other hand, you might get only a handshake and a smile from the company prez. Hope he pops a few breath mints first.

Now ad sales fame sounds pretty slick, doesn't it? Remember: The other side of fame is infamy, and you'll also be memorialized for any faux pas. For example, do you recall that account your agency had for 50 years? The one the company founder landed right out of college? And remember how his son skimmed each year's ad revenues for a two-week trip to some island in the Caribbean? Well, not any more. You were paying way too much attention to your social networks and your shopping, and you screwed up the client's ads one too many times. Now a rival agency handles that account, and you're the subject of hushed conversations at the local freeloaders' happy hour. Losing those commissions was painful—you're now paying for your lattes with coins you scrounged out of your couch. But hey, you've become an ad sales legend…just not the way you planned.

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