Everyone says that Advertising is a young person’s business.  True, it is an industry that requires the endless energy and enthusiasm of youth.

Like most art-forms, advertising thrives on new ideas, new ways of looking at things.  That newness is often associated with youth.

But the truth is you need to have established a range of technical skills, experience and a lot of wisdom before you can do great advertising.

In some ways advertising is a fight between the discipline and enthusiasm.  But it shouldn’t be.  You need them both.

Against the accepted youth-oriented preferences, there’s an argument for older professionals.

For Marketing Communications to be successful, you need to understand the target markets.  Older professionals have actually been there and done that while the more youthful have yet to experience and reflect on most of the age demographic groups.

More importantly, one needs to learn the limitations and discipline that come with targeting the message and keeping it on strategy. Plus, the ability to understand what is acceptable to the gatekeepers in getting the advertising produced.

You have to also let loose to find the ideas that break-through.  You have to know how to control and not control yourself too much by eliminating ideas because you think the client won’t buy them or they won’t fly.  That is the dialectic of doing great ads.

Early in my  career, in New York City, no one in charge of anything was younger than their mid 30s.  There was great value put on the wisdom, experience and discipline required to make sure the strategy was right and the advertising adhered to it.  There was also active mentoring of the younger workers, helping them learn and understand the craft.  Advertising wasn’t slap dash; it was carefully considered.  We were building towards our 10,000 hours required for expertise.

One of the prices of the digital age is that the time for consideration has eroded away.  The push for fast turnaround means leaving some of the discipline behind.  And newcomers to the business now have to focus on executing something quickly instead of strategically.

When you are in too much of a hurry, mistakes get made.  Who hasn’t seen a typo in a newspaper, website or even on network television.  Experience makes for efficiency; youth makes for speed.  You pick em.  In my book you need them both.

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