For clients who have it all figured out, I suggest working with a junior creative team. The client will dictate his or her desires, and the creatives on the account will do their best to please while spinning their wheels and costing the client more in the long run than the more experienced team.
So, why are agencies and clients slow to hire senior creative people? You’d think that the most experienced people, as in most other professions, would also be the most highly sought after. In advertising, that’s not always the case.
An older and wiser advertising professional, for all his or her experience, might be jaded from all this experience. People love the ambition and “can do” mentality found in younger workers. They also like the price. Which leaves way too many talented senior people on the sidelines for way too long.
George Tannenbaum, 60, is one creative professional who lays it out for all to see:
Just four years ago, when I was 56, I lost my ECD job at a prestigious digital agency. Fifty-six, in advertising and out of work is not a great place to be. I had legitimate fears that I would never work again. Who wouldn’t have fears like that?
Today, Tannenbaum is Executive Creative Director and Copy Chief at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising in New York City. Lots of other creative people over the age of 40 are still scrambling to land rewarding and meaningful work.
Here’s an appeal from Jim Mitchem in North Carolina. He’s an author and a copywriter with chops:
I love Mitchem’s goal to become the most sought-after freelance copywriter in America. Go BHAG or go home!
If you are a woman or person of color, ageism is an added difficulty. Sexism and racism are two huge mountains for the ad industry and our nation to climb. Ageism, by comparison, is more like a series of large hills. However, when you’re the one hiking those hills, the full weight of the issue may frighten you and possibly alter your confidence and/or behavior.
One thing is certain if not obvious, the industry needs the leadership of people who’ve been there.
In Related News
Beat poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who turned 99 in March, has sold “Little Boy,” a novel that its publisher, Doubleday, plans to publish March 19, 2019, five days before the author’s 100th birthday.
The book was championed by the New York literary agent Sterling Lord. Lord, 97, has collaborated with Ferlinghetti for decades; he sold Ferlinghetti’s 1988 novel, “Love in the Days of Rage.” The agent also played a key role in the careers of several writers, selling, among other famous works, Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.”