Technology Used in Advertising

By Alex Rabideau

If you’re currently getting an advertising degree at Grand Valley State University, then you’ll most likely agree with me that technology isn’t talked about nearly as much as it should be!

A large portion of our studies is geared towards: media buying, account management, tactical strategies, and other aspects within the advertising that don’t necessarily need technology; however, it is always a good idea to have technological tools in your back pocket in case something ever come up. So if you’re planning on doing that, then programs like Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro, and other “creative” programs aren’t incredibly useful to you, as long as you’re still able to communicate your ideas to creative team effectively.

After that whole contradictory prologue, I should probably mention the main point of this blog post: technology is incredibly important. How important?

Just think about how many times a day people look at their phone, tablet, or computer screen rather than read a magazine, listen to radio ads, or even watch cable television. Even for the people who do still use traditional media, a lot of that is created through the same computer programs that create digital advertisements. Chances are no matter where you will work, you will run into these programs:

Adobe Creative Suite/Cloud

This is very broad because as of the writing of this post, there are over twenty different applications bundled in the creative suite. So, to be more specific, I’ll give a few of the most important ones:

  1. Adobe InDesign

    This program is used for anything sort of article or publication. It’s tools allow you to fully customize any sort of word document. If you are going to be working with a lot of articles, this is something you need to learn.

  2. Adobe Illustrator

    Everything a graphic designer could ever need. Illustrator has an intuitive interface that gives the user freedom to create any sort of illustration they need. If you’re the artsy type that likes to create colorful and eye-catching graphics, take your time to get used to this program.

  3. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom

    These two are often times clumped together when working with photos because they both have similar responsibilities. Photoshop has a much broader tool selection for image manipulation, while Lightroom has a lot of nuanced tools for image management. If you are dealing with pictures at all, these programs are necessary for the professional world.

  4. Adobe After Effects

    Video Editing. That’s pretty much it. This is the Adobe program that allows you to manipulate and add effects to your videos. Compared to other video editors, it’s a little bit more robust, with the tradeoff of it being more complicated. If you’re going into a position that deals with videos, chances are you’ll be using this or Final Cut Pro. They are both wonderful programs, so you might want to get a feel for both of them.

Final Cut Pro

Like I mentioned earlier, this is the non-Adobe version of After Effects. A very powerful, more simple, program that is very user-friendly. Also, these programs are chosen mainly by preference, so get to know both of them.

Most likely you’ll be working with, or working with somebody that uses these tools. Regardless of what your official title is, it is absolutely beneficial to at least learn about these programs so you can communicate with your creative team. Additionally, there are a lot more programs used than the ones I’ve just listed. New technology, software, and updates are developed every day. It is our job as advertisers and communicators in our field to familiarize ourselves with the cutting edge.

Pop-quiz! Do you know these terms and what they mean:

  1. Bots
  2. Augmented/Virtual Reality
  3. Artificial Intelligence
  4. 3D printing

If you are unfamiliar with any of the terms above, it is highly recommended that you look more into them. Here are a few links to help you get started:

Bots: Bots, Explained

Augmented/Virtual Reality: Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality: What are the differences and similarities?

Artificial Intelligence: This “World’s First” Artificially Intelligent Ad Is A Test of Automated Creativity

3D Printing: How Coke, VW, Nokia and Others Use 3D Printing in Marketing

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