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Ageism in advertising

As an ECD with many years of experience on four continents, in many countries, having won my fair share of awards and new business, I am now a victim of ageism.
Tim Pinder
Tim Pinder
I can recall in my agency years, thinking that anybody over the age of 50 was washed up. A has been, out of it.

Well that was then and this is now.

Why is that anybody over 50 is regarded as being too old for the industry? I know that Martin Sorrel issued an edict that nobody over 55 should stay in office. And at 60, don’t let the door hit you on the back of the head on the way out. Basically, because that way, you just take on interns, pay them nothing, squeeze them for ideas and chuck them out when the next batch of youngsters are ready, or employ freshly qualified recruits and pay them a pittance. Managed by a few senior, experienced heads. I see this happening everywhere, to friends whose children are trying to get into the industry. Many are already disillusioned with advertising and redirecting their skills elsewhere.

Well, I am now over 60 and know that I am every bit as good as I was in my 30’s. In fact better. Because I think smarter, more strategically and a lot faster. But who the hell wants to employ me? Nobody.

But why? Because you are too old. No I am not. Yes you . . .

And so it goes. Just about any other thinking industry reveres experience and knowledge. But not advertising. I think it boils down to ‘move over, you have had your turn, now it is ours’ actually. I can sort of handle that. But not, ‘you know nothing’. That just irks the living daylights out me.

I watch TV and read press and magazines and often ask out loud ‘what on earth do they want me to know?’ Maybe because I believe that people don’t watch TV or consume press to try to work out ads. ‘What madness is that’ I hear those in Creative Departments mutter? Consumers read and watch to unwind and be entertained. Duh. Consumers are your wives, your parents. Watch them get up to make tea during commercial breaks. They don’t watch a commercial and ask, ‘who is the target audience, what is the strategic thinking and what is the take away?’

They need to be entertained and stimulated into wanting to consume your ads. And I know this how? Through years of experience – that is going wasting, along with a large number of my ex colleagues who would dearly love to be given a chance. ‘Ah, but we need fresh ideas’. Somehow, apparently, we aren’t capable of ‘fresh ideas’. Not true. But that is the prevailing attitude.

I keep applying for opportunities, but know that I am just wasting my effort. But I live in hope that someone will recognise my talent, skill and experience as being of use. But soon, I will stop wasting my time and just allow my talents and skills and experience to be put into doing something better.

About the author

I am a strategic and creative resource. I have had the privilege of working on four continents in a number of countries. In the process of doing so, I have not only won the hearts and minds of many consumers, but also won my fair share of awards whilst doing so! I love building brands, making connections with consumers. Whether it is through words, pictures, sounds or a combination of them all, for television, film, radio, digital or any other platform, I use creativity to communicate effectively. I create communication that clients want to hear, rather than what marketers want to say. From selling Hong Kong as a stunningly tourist destination, to Coca-cola launching their market changing Share a Coca-cola campaign in Nigeria, to the launch of Alfred Dunhill Luxury brand through a Golf Tournament, to sophisticated financial services - I am able to make brands stand out. I am culturally sensitive, fast working and experienced at delivering a project that will make a difference. I would love to work with you.

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