A Mini Ad Agency Dictionary

Ten #AgencyLife Words and Phrases

Whether you’re in the industry and want to brush up on your lingo or you just want to know what I’m talking about whenever I bring up work, here’s a few things to know!


Agency lingo for a commercial or advertisement, as in “The client wants a concept for :30 (thirty-second) radio spot.”


Scope of work. An outline of all the proposed work that will be conducted for a given project, designed to break down the agency’s recommended tactics, timeline for completion and budget in a no-nonsense manner.

Media Buy

The purchase of space to place an ad, which can include television or radio air time, billboard/outdoor rentals or online/digital ads.


Adjusted gross income, or the agency’s revenue after all project costs have been taken out. For example, if the client agreed to pay the agency $10,000 for an advertising campaign, but the media cost $5,000, the agency would receive $5,000 in AGI. (Although this phrase is fairly well known, I’d never used it in this context before.)


Close of Business or End of Day. Essentially, two different ways of giving someone a deadline for completing a task, as in “Please have your edits to me by EOD tomorrow.” It’s important to note that COB generally means 5 p.m., while some people might interpret EOD more loosely. While I personally consider EOD for work 5 p.m., I have several colleagues who sometimes work past 9 p.m. It’s not uncommon in agencies.


Not just an adjective! In this context, creative means design. “Do you have creative ready for this campaign?” means, “Do you have the designs for the ads in this campaign ready?”


Written content or words in a document or creative element. As in, “Can you update the copy on page 11 to include a social media plan?”


Short for speculative, which in this instance means a preliminary or draft version that you’re not billing the client for creating. If our team is trying to get a client for creative services, our Executive Creative Director might put together some creative “on spec” for the prospective client to see.


Qualifications or previous experience in a certain area. Depending on the type of proposal I am putting together, I might need to pull in Hirons’ government, media buying or environmental quals.

White label

I just learned this one recently! White label means that you don’t put any company branding on a product or document so that another company can add theirs. This can streamline communications with clients when multiple companies are partnering on one project, so that all communications appear to come from one company involved.

1 thought on “A Mini Ad Agency Dictionary”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s