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Difference between Advertising and Social Media Agencies

I have interned in advertising as well as social media agencies. In fact, in my last internship at a social media agency, we shared office with an advertising agency. Thus, I can provide you with the minutest differences between the two. Let’s take a look:

 1. Structure:
The head of the ad agency, the CEO/MD, is generally out on a holiday for six months, twice a year. There is an account management team consisting of  marketing MBAs, who did not get a job elsewhere. And, there is a creative team, which is chief reason why Tobacco companies in this country are prospering.

The head of a social media agency can be anyone, since not much of head is required to be one. There are no distinct departments in most of the cases. Employees here, call themselves “social media gurus”.  These are the same people, who spam your Twitter inbox, making sure you participate in contests.

2. Timings:
The working hours of a social media agency are typical office timings -10 am to 6 pm. The employees are extremely punctual while leaving the office. At 6 pm sharp, the social media gurus shut down their computers. It’s their time for socializing in the real world. 
Similarly, the ad agency also functions from 10 to 6, but it’s during the night. Since everyone is dependent on everyone else for every other thing, the work timings are not consistent. Friday night is the most auspicious time of the week for both kinds of agencies. The employees may even murder the boss if asked to do overtime on that day.

3. Work and Culture
The CEO/MD of the ad agency is only available for client meetings, preferably out of town ones. The account management team, besides playing games online, is most interested in flirting with clients of the opposite sex. Every member of the creative team is either planning to write a book or make a film. So, who does the work then? That’s where interns come into the picture. 

The poor interns are burdened with infinite job lists and impossible deadlines to meet. Somehow, everything is managed. Who takes the credit for the campaign and who gets the award, is a separate issue.

The problem with Social Media Gurus is that they often forget that they go to office for work. Most people keep on chatting with their online friends. And when they post for clients’ pages, they often use SMS language, putting clients’ reputation at stake. Sometimes the Gurus mix up in posting content for different clients. Once a picture for a condom brand page was posted on a children’s clothing brand page. Thus, many of the clients now e-mail the agency, the exact posts that need to be updated on their pages. I wonder why they pay the agency.

In short, the work done by employees of both the agencies is almost the same. Now, you know how much!

Note: The views expressed here are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of afaqs! Campus


Sagar Mundhra

Sagar is in his final semester of Post Graduation in Marketing Communications from The Delhi School of Communication. He has done his internships in copywriting and content planning with various advertising and social media agencies. He is now looking forward to join the industry.