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Doesn't add up

Advertiser admits the glamorous world of publicity isn't all it's cracked up to be



Doesn't add up

Siripun Taechachiadawong |says a career in advertising |is quite similar to being a |salesperson.

"What?" I raise my eyebrows and look at her for an explanation.

The aim of advertisement is to sell products, says Siripun, a copywriter for more than 20 years.

"When you think you can be freely creative, you're wrong. Only 30 per cent of any ad shows creativity, and the rest is about selling the products.

"Do you like selling stuff?," she asks.

Siripun landed her job in advertising right after she graduated in journalism and mass communications from Thammasat University. She has worked at several leading ad agencies in the country, including Leo Burnett, Spa Advertising and Ogilvy. However, she declines to name the agency she's working for now, saying her straightforward comments might upset the agency or its clients.

"Making an ad means walking along the lines that separate lying, morality and ethics," says the 41-yer-old. "Ads play with people's minds. They make people want more than they need - being prettier, having other indefinite wants. Most ads don't tell the whole truth; they only pick some parts of the truth and dress them up beautifully to present to consumers.

"I feel bad every time I have to do it," says Siripun. "What I can do is to lie as little as possible and be true as much as I can."

Good advertising is telling what the products can really do, not making things up, the veteran copywriter emphasises.

She says some of her advertising partners don't do ads for alcohol, energy drinks and houses that are not yet built. These choices all depend on individual ethics, she says.

When asked why she doesn't change her career, Siripun says she earns only about Bt10,000 for each book she writes. Her first book was "The Little Garuda," which won honourable mention for children's books in the Nai Indra Awards in 2002. The other two are "Tears of the Black Tiger" (Fah Talai Jone) and "Citizen Dog" (Mah Nakorn). Both have been adapted for film.

"If I had a choice, I'd just be a writer," she says. "On the one side, I write books to inspire people, to make them want to become better and to understand themselves. On the other side, I write ads to lure people to buy products."

Siripun hopes she will be able to save enough money and quit her ad career in the next five years.

She says many young people think working in the field is kind of cool and fun since it's being seen as selling creative ideas, but it's not.

"You may have fun at the beginning, thinking about ideas and storyboards, but over time things are repeated, with the same themes and concepts, the same demands and requests from clients and the same creative ideas and tricks.

"And one day you'll find out that you're just a salesperson and don't really make much impact on the world or anyone."



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