Ageism. Advertising’s other dirty secret.
I was between gigs awhile ago, bemoaning my fate to an ad titan over a glass of wine. I’d been told by many it was hopeless, I had almost accepted it as fact. After all, I intoned, “I am a woman of a certain age.” He snorted with laughter. “Yes you are. And that’s your greatest advantage. You have a network and wisdom — neither of which you had at 25, and both of which are priceless.”
Buck the trend. Hire those over 45 and you will win in the long run. Here’s why.
There is life beyond Millennials. Plenty of it — a vast group of consumers are north of the 53-year old mark. The Baby Boomers are a huge cohort, and they are wealthy, active and tech literate. Ignore them at your peril. They will not go quietly into the night anytime soon. They will continue to shape and define culture in the years ahead. Hell, they invented disrupting. They run marathons, travel, eat well, buy cars and attend concerts. Twenty-somethings cannot relate to them, much less convince them to buy anything. But I can. I walk their walk.
Those of us who have spent decades in boardrooms and studios have seen it all before. So we are unfazed by the inevitable curveballs. Whether it’s a tough client, hiccups with the talent at a shoot, or an unexpected market issue, we have the experience, patience and wisdom to fix it without even blinking.
We don’t make rookie mistakes — like telling the client we can’t make a meeting with them because we already have a meeting with another client.
More than one corporate president in charge of a multi-million dollar budget has told me they’d rather sit across the table and buy an idea from someone like me because, speaking frankly, they can relate to me better. They feel more comfortable talking business to someone older than their kid.
We won’t take maternity or paternity leave. And we don’t have to hurry home to pick up kids from daycare. Oh but we’ve done all those things in the past, so we can write meaningful work that relates to those who do, but the reverse is not true.
We solve creative problems in less time. We cut to the heart of an issue with the speed and precision of a surgeon. We know a bad strategy when we see one, better still we can fix it. Many, like me, have run an agency before so we know your pain points and can help solve the complex issues you face. Most of us have experience working on every category of business there is. Not only can we come up with ideas faster, we won’t pass off ones that won at Cannes 23 years ago as our own, because we actually remember them.
And if we can’t help you, we know someone who can. They used to call it a Rolodex. Now they call it a network.
I wouldn’t trade my years of experience for anything.
In advertising we heap praise and recognition upon those who take the less obvious paths. We revere the mavericks. So why not be one? Hire someone over 45. You can thank me later. I’ll still be around.