How Studying Advertising Ruined My Life (In the Best Way Possible)

Fun fact: I used to be a journalism major, and probably still would be if I hadn't transferred to a university that didn't offer it. That being said, I wouldn't change my experience for the world – writing is an invaluable skill that complements any career path (except maybe like, statistics) and it has helped me immensely in my past few years of studying advertising at both the undergraduate and graduate level. However, there's a bit of a disclaimer that no one really tells you until it's too late – studying advertising will ruin your life. 

1. Consumer Insight

In the advertising industry, we have a fancy term that we use to analyze the behavior of our customers and potential customers called consumer insight. It's essentially psychology, so my psych majors can probably relate to the unintentional development of the tendency to analyze your friends, family classmates, and random strangers at Whole Foods. If you've ever found yourself thinking something like "hmmm... brand name laundry detergent but generic brand milk? That must stem from his learned family values because his mom used Tide but he's still trying to save money on the food items..." then you're probably studying one of those two things.

2. Commercials

cardi b ok GIF by Pepsi Don't ever watch the Superbowl with your ad major friends if you're just there to laugh at the Pepsi ads with Cardi B or watch Adam Levine take his shirt off (which let's be honest, we were ALL there for that). After you've studied advertising for a few years, it's pretty much impossible to watch a commercial without over-analyzing the budget, the value proposition or why the heck Coors Light would spend $5.25 million dollars on a brand promise like "zero corn syrup." 

3. YouTube

Influencer marketing (aka when your favorite YouTuber does a sponsored review or "unboxing" video) is a hot trend right now, which can make it really difficult to go on YouTube without my mind drifting to things like "hmm, I wonder why X brand partnered with Y influencer? I really don't think they'll get the return on investment that they're looking for – their values are totally misaligned." Sometimes you just want to space out on James Charles without thinking about that stuff!

4. Social Media

The advertising industry is at a crucial turning point as the world shifts away from traditional media like newspapers, magazines and TV in favor of digital platforms, and there's a phenomenon in which consumers accelerate the reach of ads online. This means that "social media" ie; FB, Twitter, IG, etc. is totally mislabeled... because ALL media is technically social media because we're all having a conversation about it! However, literally no one cares and my friends are probably getting sick of me ranting about the difference, and sometimes I forget that.

So long story short, if you want to totally change your perception about all the ads you see every day (which, think about it, it's A LOT) then study advertising. I will never see the world the way I used to, but I'm totally OK with that!