When I first started in advertising you were considered a fossil when you hit your late 40s.
Now you’re a fossil the moment you’re out of diapers.
It’s kind of true in all industries, but it's become particularly glaring in advertising and branding.
And it’s an incredible thing to behold. Banks, automobiles, packaged goods companies deciding to rest their marketing futures on people who are still on their parent’s insurance.
Bob Hoffman, the fantastically insightful Ad Contrarian writes that anytime a brand is struggling, the solution is always, “Aim younger, do more on social.”
So agencies trot out Trevor or Tatum who think the way to spell “you" is u, who think the way to spell “are" is r and who need to be reminded every now and then that you can also actually talk on a smartphone.
True, their nose ring, sleeve of tats, cup of kava and second-hand bike make them eminently qualified to tell me how to market a new mutual fund, but surely there must be a place for experience and expertise. Right?
What’s that? There isn’t? How can I possibly know anything about what makes humans tick if I don’t even know where my kimchi is sourced?
Well here’s the thing, I'm willing to bet you probably don’t want the kid straight out of med school doing his neurosurgery on you. And do you really want a 22 year old figuring out the investment strategy for your retirement?
Right about now half of you are nodding in agreement and half of you are shaking your head, thinking, “Why doesn’t this guy just go die already?”
I think youth is a wonderful thing and we need it by the elevator-load in advertising/marketing/branding. Same for all industries, honestly. Youth is energy and new ideas can shake things up.
But I think I know more about selling a luxury car or a nice wine or an antacid than Tatum does. I’ve actually used these things. And I can afford them without having to take in a roommate.
Experience matters whether you’re in advertising, accounting, fashion, food, autos, technology… Hell, when was the last time you saw a 26 year old running a mafia family?
So let’s make room for all ages at the proverbial locally-sourced maple table that was crafted by an artisan who just moved to a tiny studio in Brooklyn. We can all contribute to the business of our clients.
Black hair. Or gray hair.