If you are watching television at the moment the chances are good that in the next half hour or so you will be watching an advert made by an advertising agency and either marveling at the concept or finding it ridiculous. Either way you'll be paying attention to the product being promoted and that is what lies at the core of what the agency wants to achieve with the advert. Of course it is not only on the television that you see the myriad of products created in an advertising agency. You only have to drive a few kilometres on the highway near any major urban centre in South Africa to see the many billboards and signboards advertising a range of products from banks, to cellular phone companies, steak houses, slimming products and even government initiatives such as safe sex programmes aimed at lowering HIV/Aids transmission rates.
While some companies strive to be able to meet the needs of any potential client, whether they are restaurateurs, doctors, accountants, non profit organisations or government departments, certain agencies specifically establish themselves as a specialists that is especially geared towards the needs of specific group or groups of advertisers. For example, a specialist advertising agency may specialize in the travel industry and have a core group of staff who have extensive travel backgrounds and well-stamped passports that make them particularly qualified to create advertisements in is sector. Another professional group of potential advertisers that may well need the services of a specialist advertising agency is the medical profession, where a specific knowledge of the focus area is essential in order to accurately project and sell medical products and services in a meaningful and responsible manner. They may well even have doctors and nurses on its staff, either permanently or as consultants, in order to advise on and research specific medical facts and developments.
Within the advertising agency itself there are lots of different kinds of work going on and not only the obvious things such as a creative team of copywriters and art directors coming up with new media campaigns and advertising ideas that they collaborate on with the design or production departments. These agencies has to run smoothly just like any other business, no matter how creative it is, and there is a range of core and essential functions that still have to be performed in order to get the job done. For example, one of the less glamorous jobs is performed by the media services department which is responsible for mundane matters such as making sure that they has enough supplies and negotiating with printers to make sure enough pamphlets can be printed on deadline. They often have to focus on budgetary constraints and practical deadlines that are as essential to pleasing the client as the advertising campaign itself. Another part of an advertising agency that is rarely heard of is the traffic department, which is quite literally in charge of regulating the flow of work into and out of the advertising agency.