If you are an advertiser, why you should care about your agency's ageism practices
Discrimination against experienced older employees in ad land leads to missed opportunities and lost revenue. It’s high time the industry adopts a more mature approach.
By Ryan Wallman 15 Apr 2019 7:00 am
Alex Murrell, head of planning at Epoch Design, recently wrote an excellent article in which he compared the proportion of people aged over 50 in various industries. In fields such as science and law, he noted, the figure is more than 30%. In advertising? Just 6%, according to an IPA paper.
If you work in advertising and you’re over the age of 35, you can expect to be called ‘old’. Oh, OK, I’m exaggerating – it’s actually more like 30.
The demographic make-up of the advertising industry sends a pretty clear message to people who have the gall to a) stay alive and b) keep working past the age of 30. And that message is: “Fuck you and the mobility scooter you rode in on.”
Consider, for example, that consumers over 50 account for around 60% of all car sales. And yet when did you last see a car ad that didn’t feature attractive 20-somethings zipping around to an electropop soundtrack?
For some (if not most) brands, this is commercial insanity.
According to Gallop, ageist attitudes in the advertising industry – and in business more broadly – are particularly egregious towards women. This wouldn’t come as a shock to most people, given the low representation of women in senior roles and the apparently endemic culture of sexism at some agencies.
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