Why does the idea make crappy advertising campaigns

A fast, chic industry. Somehow you would like to be there yourself: in advertising. I would drive from one meeting to the next in an Audi TT and impress my colleagues in the agency with the most amazing ideas in between. You wouldn't be rich, but you would be wealthy and - at least in the small, sophisticated scene - known.

Is it like this? If you listen to Benedikt Hüttel, you might think that he is sliding at full speed in the direction of burn-out syndrome: his job hurts him. Almost everything he thinks up ends up in the trash. The close cooperation with his colleague Georg sometimes reminds him of a marriage, as it is similarly conflict-prone. And then "you always have to exert yourself somehow", even on the way home Benedikt sometimes jumps off his bike and quickly scribbles a few notes in his pad. The 35-year-old has had a dream job since February: He is a copywriter at McCann Erickson, the largest advertising agency in the world.

"The fly prices of the new Condor." Benedikt Hüttel came up with this and other slogans for the Frankfurt charter airline. He brought the fly and flying, which is somehow absolutely obvious, together. And his idea prevailed against dozens of other Condor claims in customer presentations. For someone who only started as a junior copywriter in the spring, this is a great success.

But the fly campaign is not everything. Microsoft, Cathay Pacific and Swiss Air also expect catchy headlines week after week. "Having an idea under time pressure is just shitty hard work. And the challenge of coping with it is almost even greater, not even having an idea," says junior writer Hüttel.

Not having an idea is bad in the long run. "Since 2001 the advertising industry has recorded a declining employment trend," says Matthias Schönert from the Bremen Institute for Economic Research (BAW). Between 2001 and 2003, more than one in ten people lost their jobs in advertising. This corresponds to around 13,700 employees.

In the meantime, jobs are occasionally being given again, but the path to new hires is tough: "It was a long struggle and I was lucky that a budget was won at the right moment," says Sabine Hentrich. Since the beginning of August, the 25-year-old has been able to decorate herself with the title "Assistant to Management" at McCann Erickson and call a tiny office her own. Before that, the business administration graduate, who graduated from the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz, was an intern at the Frankfurt advertising agency for six months - for 400 euros a month.

"I wouldn't have done an internship anymore," says Benedikt Hüttel. He was 34 years old and already a dad when he sent 20 applications to various creative agencies in the Frankfurt area. To date, he has not had a permanent position, but he has plenty of experience: apprenticeship as a bookseller, studying English and sociology, freelance proofreader, attending a text school, internship with Leo Burnett. "Actually, I always wanted to make books," he says. He also thought about a dissertation project for months. In the end, he decided to make money.

The monthly salary for young professionals in creation is between 2000 and 2500 euros, consulting jobs such as Sabine Hentrich's are similar. "You earn little money in advertising for a relatively long time, but once the switch is flicked, you make an extremely large sentence," says Ruber Iglesias, director of the Frankfurt McCann Erickson branch. A seasoned copywriter or creative director can easily collect 5000 euros a month, so Iglesias.

However, regardless of income and position, full commitment is required from everyone: Even interns submit to the industry-standard working hours, which rarely end before 7 p.m. And in the weeks before a presentation, the pitch, night and weekend work is often enough.