Aged Out: Why Agencies Need Older Workers
Some people may believe creativity is a young person’s game, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. The “father of advertising,” David Ogilvy, was 39 when his life in advertising began. According to artnet.com, comic book legend Stan Lee began drawing superheroes when he was 43. His partner, Jack Kirby, was 44 when he created “The Fantastic Four.” An article on Insider reports how Vera Wang, a household name in the competitive fashion market, designed her first dress at the age of 40. Let’s not forget legendary TV host Oprah, who really kicked off her career at 32.
When it comes to diversity in marketing and advertising, it’s not just about color; it includes age, too. As more people bring light to a rarely discussed topic, companies need to realize ageism shouldn’t be tolerated, and age should never be a factor in a person’s capabilities.
Here are three important reasons why.
With age comes wisdom
It’s important for the industry to value older creatives because their contributions are worth more than money. They bring experiences and knowledge that help to shape young talent.
Today, most younger successful creatives have an older mentor or person they’ve modeled their career after. For example, if you ask most millennial and Gen Z professional basketball players which other players inspired them, you’d hear names like Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, among others. Those former players have the expertise and skill sets studied and valued today.
Their work ethic is unmatched by younger generations
Gen Zers are entering the workplace in the most unapologetic ways. They’re establishing boundaries and focusing more on work-life balance, whereas workers from previous generations are willing to compromise a little more. A study published on Columbia.edu explained how businesses reported that older workers are the first to arrive for a shift while remaining focused throughout the day. They rarely miss work, even in a fast-paced, physically demanding business. Newer companies might see them as a liability when they’re actually the strength.
They spend the most money
Studies show people 55 and older control 70% of all personal wealth in the United States. They are the real money makers and spend the most, as well. Yet, most brands often ignore this existing market. Studies have also revealed older workers hate the immaturity of advertising campaigns. Many have complained that ads of people their age reinforce outdated stereotypes. This is why age representation is critical. Hiring people relatable to the target audience only makes the creativity more genuine and effective.
The moral of this story is simple: Age ain’t nothing but a number, and creativity has no expiration date. Having a diverse range of age representation in your industry is valuable — not only to company culture, but also to society.
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