Does anyone else think it’s weird that advertising is ageist considering most prominent fashion designers, architects, novelists, and fine artists remain relevant and work until they die?

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The ageism from above (Execs) has nothing to do with talent. It has everything to do with salaries and shrinking margins. Once anyone gets above a certain salary range they are at risk of being pushed out.
The ageism from below (jr colleagues) has to do with ageist propaganda in culture. I fell for it too when I was in my 20s and 30s because it fortified my insecure ego to make fun of colleagues in their 40-50s. Now that I’m over 40 and that same cruelty and exclusion is pointed at me, I see how wrong it was. It’s pure discrimination based on an aspect of self that the person can’t change. How is that different than discriminating based on gender, ability, race? It’s not.




Advertising sells fresh, not experience. Agency customers, generally, don’t buy the brands of individuals who work there. At one time they did. Since then, advertising has become a commodity business. And every time any agency agrees to “do it for less” they reinforce that.


Senior pitch, junior delivery is the name of the game. Why pay a handful of seniors well when you can pay a multitude of juniors peanuts and a few beers to kill themselves hitting deadlines?

This allows senior execs to keep doing their TED struts for clients while pretending they're maverick creatives.


You have a survivors bias for famous fashion d, architects, and novelists. They are the less than decimal percent of people who survived their ageist fields into old age (or even their fifties). And in fact, very few of those maintain their output - they have younger apprentices and infrastructure in the wings doing the work. Karl Lagerfeld and Mick Jagger surf on the legacies built while young.


To be honest, the problem is a lack of critical thinking and quite a bit of an ignorance when it comes to these larger issues. Very similar to your own confusion about the dynamics behind ageism. I seriously do not mean to be offensive but start questioning yourself to understand the indifference and resistance that leads to a lack of change on issues like racism, sexism, ageism, etc. Also, ageism is deeply related to money and capitalism which advertising is all about and life is almost always way more complicated than, “oh, i like older designers, maybe I should stop being ageist”.


But fashion and architecture and hell the entire literary world are also capitalist machines. Obviously ageism isn’t black and white but I really don’t think it can be compared to the violence and trauma that comes with racism and sexism, that’s quite an overreach. People die and are assaulted due to sexism and racism....It’s strange that some of the most talented voices in advertising are older but agencies would prefer a 29 year old executive creative director whose way out of their element. Does it really save them that much money to have an inexperienced kid make major business and pitch decisions nervously and poorly? I have never had good experiences with young ECDs, or young CDs for that matter, they are always let go after severely messing up projects.

Don’t forget designers


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