{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Pharma Creatives: How do you like working in pharma? \n\nI’m a mid level creative in my late 30s and it feels like I’ve never gotten any traction in my career. I’m also worried that I’m going to “age out” before I start making any decent money. \n\nI was drawn to advertising to make some cool stuff but it’s been like 5+ years and I still haven’t done anything of note. \n\nShould I start looking at the pharma world? Any advice or insight?", "post_id": "60fd6af10138be002a2971ce", "reply_count": 14, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "5565cfca8b2b9a03009acf57", "bowl_name": "Advertising" }

Pharma Creatives: How do you like working in pharma? I’m a mid level creative in my late 30s and it feels like I’ve never gotten any traction in my career. I’m also worried that I’m going to “age out” before I start making any decent money. I was drawn to advertising to make some cool stuff but it’s been like 5+ years and I still haven’t done anything of note. Should I start looking at the pharma world? Any advice or insight?

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I don’t work in Pharma. But I respect those who do. It’s grown up work that isn’t easy, both strategically and creatively. The good solutions are harder to come by (and often aren’t sexy). I’m happy there are are more opportunities for these folks to be recognized in Cannes etc. In short, it may be an option but it’s not easy Street.

likeuplifting

Not in pharma - but I’d ask yourself a few more questions. Why aren’t you making any work? Is it agency / Leadership / client / presentation skills etc etc What would jumping to pharma do? Future stability? More money?

likehelpful

Perhaps would for an inhouse marketing or advertising team? It might provide more of what you want stability wise and align to your current experience vs. jumping over to pharma. There us this perception that pharma=easy because many campaigns seem to follow a template (which is largely due to FDA rules). It isnt easy though in that it is highly technical, and in order to perform well in pharma you need to master those complex technical aspects. So any move to pharma could in fact make you go a couple of rungs lower on the career ladder vs. where you may be now.

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Health, wellness and Pharma is a much tougher gig than consumer due to the regulatory environment. I’ve been in it for 12 years now, and storytelling in health needs much deeper and meaningful insights since focus isn’t on culture per se. And competition has also become greater because more and more creatives are seeing it as more fulfilling and lucrative, like me. I’d definitely suggest giving it a try to see if it is for you. But do so for the right reason. I’m ex-JWT and found mainstream advertising to be ephemeral and cynical. Health gave me the right mix of intellect, purpose, and opportunity. Is that what you’re looking for?

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Pharma is difficult and highly regulated. Hard to get good work approved. On the flip side, it can extend your career for years because they value the expertise and strategic thinking that comes with age (I switched at 54 and still going a decade later). There are opportunities for passion projects, as well as awards. I’ve won Lions, Clios, etc. The pay is decent—but not better than general, I’ve found. Then again, I wouldn’t have lasted this long if I hadn’t bailed on general. I’ve also met the nicest, funniest people in pharma. Not a lot of inflated egos here.

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You don’t age out. You price out.

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I have my theories, but am just entering the phase of my career where I’ll see what’s truly what. So far, it’s been as simple as earning the agency significantly more than you cost. Wether that be through work sold, business won, or prestige gained.

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Pharma is great for the creative who has craved job security and financial stability. Pharma is not for the consumer creative who thinks they’re going to come in and be considered brilliant just because they wrote a few tweets for IKEA in 2009. What were you planning on saying in interviews? “I want to come to pharma because I’m giving up!” You work at Grey, so you have ways of trying pharma out before going full tilt.

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I feel a bit like you where I’m worried about aging out of regular advertising before I get a chance at it. That said, I am glad I have experience in pharma though because I don’t mind it, and should I ever go freelance I can see myself accepting pharma gigs. Despite this stuff being easily learned on the job, there is less and less willingness for teams to hire inexperienced creatives, especially writers if you happen to be one. Happy to chat further and help in DM.

likeuplifting

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