Ageism is one of the most embarrassing problems in the advertising industry. It’s a topic we continue to cover in these pages and a problem that lingers like the vilest of stenches.
At the same time, some of the industry’s smartest people are working on solutions. Jane Evans, author of Invisible to Invaluable: Unleashing the Power of Midlife Women and founder of Uninvisibility, says, “It’s safe to say that women over 50 in the industry are as rare as unicorn tears and Black women are almost completely non-existent. That needs to change! Now!”
Evans, in partnership with Brixton Finishing School and WPP, is working to make these changes with Visible Start. The program’s purpose is to prepare midlife women for jobs in advertising and provide “a complete support system for women who are designing the second half of their lives.”
In an industry with all sorts of portfolio programs and other funnels for talent acquisition, it’s refreshing to see a training program meant to keep valuable workers and bring back those who’ve already left the premises.
Little Black Book interviewed Evans about the need for the new program, which is free to attend. She said, “Marketing 101 states that you advertise to the youth to gain brand loyalty. That was true in our mother’s time but totally wrong today. We’ll swap brands in a heartbeat!”
Evans added, “But the ‘young and sexy’ advertising industry has lost the majority of its highly experienced workforce who understand the power and opportunities of midlife women and know how to sell to them.”
In related news, the World Economic Forum estimates that, by 2025, 50% of all employees will need reskilling due to adopting new technology.