Advertising Account Executive

  • Advertising Account Executive

The advertising account executive works within a record label or third-party ad agency to drive album sales and public interest through the development and implementation of paid advertising campaigns. This person receives an assignment from the director of advertising and will typically work with a short roster of artists within a specific label division or genre.


In preparation for a new campaign, the account executive considers the artist’s image and musical style and then reviews any past campaigns developed for the act. He or she determines the ad strategies with the highest probability for success and greatest return on investment and will coordinate with relevant individuals within the marketing, promotions, and public relations departments. In conceiving of an ad strategy, the executive considers the target audience of the artist and will review market research to predict the demographics with the greatest potential for interest. An advertising campaign can be a streamlined strategy of strictly radio or print advertising in music magazines or can incorporate many diverse ad hosts, including online ads, television commercials, billboards, and street team canvassing. Where relevant and beneficial, the advertising account executive may opt to collaborate with a product placement manager to embed the artist’s name, image, or songs in an entertainment property, like a television series episode. Working closely with the advertising art director and a copywriter, the advertising account executive will be active in conceiving of the creative content of all ads, including the production of commercials with a third-party production company.

No matter the method, advertising for music sales is a short-term operation that must be executed under a strict deadline. While record labels are interested in sustained sales, important to the album’s longevity is the immediate boost in interest gained from ranking high on the Billboard charts. The account executive must make the correct analysis in the first attempt at implementing the strategy; otherwise, precious ad dollars are lost in trial-and-error, resulting in low sales returns. To put his or her plan into action, this person will contact advertising representatives at appropriate companies, such as television networks or music blogs, and negotiate on terms such as length of ad run, time slot, web impressions, etc. All of these variables contribute to the cost and are crucial to the executive’s budget. He or she must deal respectfully with the rep but still haggle tenaciously to receive the best possible deal. During the run of the campaign, he or she will continually monitor sales and audience data related to the purchased ads, and where possible, make adjustments. On a regular basis, the advertising account executive will report to the department director concerning the campaign’s returns and will be expected to compile examples of ad placement to accompany that report.

Skills & Education

A college degree in advertising, music business, or related field is required for this position, and study should include courses in public relations, mass communication law, market research, and branding. Classes that concentrate on advertising for entertainment and those dealing with Internet marketing are of particular value. To understand demographics and methods of understanding a target audience, courses in statistics and consumer psychology are immensely beneficial. The development of advertising campaigns requires an individual who is innovative and flexible; success depends on adapting to changes in the market and staying one step ahead of the competition. 

What to Expect

The ad business can be shark-infested waters. Some have that knack to maintain a lucrative career over many years, but there is no shortage of those who wash out because they cannot consistently produce creative and compelling ads. Competition for the public’s attention and discretionary funds is fierce, especially because streaming and downloadable music have dramatically changed the traditional music business model. Those who enter this profession must have a thick skin and unlimited ambition. A path toward this job will require experience in the lower levels of the advertising or marketing department, such as an advertising assistant. Previous employment as a marketing representative or in product placement is also relevant. As advertising is a large career field across the wide spectrum of the entertainment industry, there are numerous opportunities to seek employment for the talented job seeker.


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