Madison Ave Bound: Advertising Careers in New York City

Madison Ave Bound: Advertising Careers in New York City

New York is often called "the media capital of the world" and is by far the most important center for American mass media, journalism and publishing. New York ranks as the number-one media market in the United States with 7% of US television-viewing households (followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto). Seven of the world's top eight global advertising agency networks are headquartered in New York. Some of the city's top media conglomerates include Time Warner, the Thomson Reuters Corporation, the News Corporation, the Hearst Corporation, and Viacom.


As reported in "The Emergence of Advertising in America", by the year 1861 there were over twenty advertising agencies in New York City, and in 1911, the New York City Association of Advertising Agencies was founded, predating the establishment of the American Association of Advertising Agencies by several years. The term "Madison Avenue" is often used metonymically for advertising, and Madison Avenue became identified with the advertising industry after the explosive growth in this area during the 1920s.

Over the decades many agencies have left Madison Avenue. A majority of them have moved further downtown and others have moved west. Today, only a few agencies are still located in the historic business cluster on Madison Avenue, including Young & Rubicam, Strawberry Frog, TBWA Worldwide and Doyle Dane Bernbach. However, the term is still used to describe the agency business as a whole and large, New York–based agencies in particular.

Agency Department Areas

Creative Department
The Creative Process forms the most crucial part of the advertising process and the people who create the actual ads form the core of an advertising agency. Creative's include Copywriters, Art Directors and Production Artists.

Account Services
Agencies usually appoint an account executive to liaise with the clients. Creativity and marketing acumen are the needed area of the client service people. They work closely with the specialists in each field. Account Managers are people-oriented and enjoy splitting their time between the client and the agency.

Media Services
The media services department are the people who have contacts with the suppliers of various creative media and plans, coordinates and purchases media space to run advertising that the agency has created.

The production department is responsible for contracting external vendors (i.e. directors and production companies, photographers, or direct mailers). Producers are involved in every aspect of a project, from the initial creative briefing through execution and delivery. Production includes all the people who help get a job routed internally, proofread, checked, printed, duplicated, and distributed.

Other Departments and Personnel
In small agencies, employees may do both creative and account service work. Larger agencies attract people who specialize in one or the other, and indeed include a number of people in specialized positions: production work, Internet advertising, planning, or research, for example.

The traffic department regulates the flow of work in the agency. It is typically headed by a traffic manager (or system administrator). Traffic increases an agency's efficiency and profitability through the reduction of false job starts, inappropriate job initiation, incomplete information sharing, over- and under-cost estimation and the need for media extensions. In small agencies without a dedicated traffic manager, one employee may be responsible for managing workflow, gathering cost estimates and answering the phone, for example. Large agencies may have a traffic department of five or more employees.

Employment Outlook

A wide range of educational backgrounds is suitable for entry into advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales manager jobs, but many employers prefer college graduates with experience in related occupations.

Computer skills are necessary for record keeping and data management, and the ability to work in an Internet environment is becoming increasingly vital as more marketing, product promotion, and advertising is done through the Internet. Also, the ability to communicate in a foreign language may open up employment opportunities in New York City and many other rapidly growing areas around the country, especially cities with large Spanish-speaking populations.

Education & Training

A variety of schools in New York City and the surrounding areas offer diploma, certificate, associate, bachelor, and advanced degrees in advertising related careers. Visit the art, design, and media communications sections within for more information on a specific career-targeted degree program.

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