Older people will be the disproportionate victims of coronavirus in more ways than one.
One of the worst kept secrets of the ad business is the astounding and flagrant ageism that pervades the industry.
The coronavirus pandemic presents a golden opportunity for agencies to perfect their ageism skills.
Now that the inevitable layoffs have begun, agencies won't dare overload their guillotines with women or minorities for fear of being labeled sexist or racist.
But they won't hesitate to put a disproportionate number of mature heads on the chopping block.
According to numbers I have seen, people over 50 constitute about 6% of agency employees (and about 42% of the adult population!)
Anyone wanna bet people over 50 constitute more than 6% of the soon-to-be unemployed?
This week BBDO laid off two of their most highly-awarded senior executives, the Chief Creative Officer of their NY office and their Exec VP-Director of Integrated Production.
I don't know how old these guys are, but I can guess.
From my blog piece Advertising's Lost Generation: "In order to align itself with the new gods of business - the wunderkind of Silicon Valley - the ad industry quickly adopted the customs, language, and conceits of that world.
Among the most oppressive of those conceits was the worship of youth.
'Young people are just smarter,' said a smirking Mark Zuckerberg. Of course, Zuckerberg wasn’t the world’s only arrogant prick.
This attitude - though mainly unspoken - became a prevailing ethos in the advertising world.
But advertising is not like science and math where the brightest tend to excel while young.
Advertising has more in common with literature and art. Artists and writers tend to do their best work in their 40's, 50's and 60's."
Algorithms R Us
If you need proof of advertising's desperate need for mature talent, have a look at this embarassing video.
It is prima facie evidence of the damage that homogenization has done to advertising.
For a few years we've been reading that in the future copywriters will not be necessary.
It is said that AI can write ads more effectively than humans.
I think they have it backwards. Algorithms aren't replacing copywriters, copywriters are replacing algorithms.
This video proves beyond a doubt that we have been programmed to think alike, talk alike, and write alike.
The video is a black-eye to the idea of creativity in advertising. It is a testament to the type of cliché-ridden bores we have become.
The ad industry doesn't need algorithms. We've become algorithms.
In November, I wrote about former Publicis CEO Maurice Levy taking the job as interim CMO at WeWork.
At the time I said, "Why someone like Levy would even think about associating himself with this monstrosity is beyond explanation."
Well, it didn't take long for him to cut and run.
*Featured post photo by Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash