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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : March April 2008
Dean (above) and Moult (right). Moult says Dean’s age wasn’t a factor in whether he was hired. What Moult takes into account is apparent age, with some people retaining the ability to appear young at 50 and others appearing ancient at 30. Walker: “the last thing I want my guys thinking of is every single thing that could go wrong. I just think that’s a shame, so yes I definitely want more young people.” Carrasco: “The value of an idea doesn’t change, but the technology around it does. If you stay enthusiastic and excited about the change time brings to the industry, you stay relevant” according to their contributio n to the company rather than what they ‘need’, then they will do well.” Rowan Dean, the creative director of Euro RSCG is in his mid to late forties, but Moult says Dean’s age wasn’t a factor in whether he was hi red. W hat M oult t ak es i nto account is apparent age, with some peopl e r et ain ing t he abi lity t o appear young at 50 and other s appearing ancient at 30. “Advertising is obviously ageist, but advertising in general is realis- ing that the greatest booming area is not t he youth market, but the grey market. I think the industry is going to wake up to the fact that it is going to need some older peo- ple,” Moult says. Case in point is the Perpetual campaign out of John Bevins writ- ten by Vaughan. Moult says after reading the copy he understood the changes to the super rules for the first time. “You’d struggle to get anyone under the age of thirty to be able to write that stuff,” he says, adding that he wants to start an agency aimed at seniors called Age Old &Tre acher y, some thing he jokes he’ll do when he convinces Bevins and Philip Putnam to sign up with him. MARCH /APRIL 2 008 Bevins says the great paradox of the bu sines s i s t hat t he baby boomer s have the d ispos abl e income and are the ones marketers want to be targeting, yet marketing is a young game with brands wanti- ng to look fresh and young. This means there is a lot of dis- connect with the advertising target- ed at this market. Howeve r, Vaugh an argues that being an ad writer means taking on the persona of those you’re talking to — whatever their age. “When I was barely twenty, I was asked to se ll luxury Mercedes - Benzes to people in a forty-plus tar- get. Or a house ful l of carpet to people decades older than I. Yet I never got a visit from the age police. Thes e days I get as ked to sel l mobile phone packages, cool digital travel cameras or alcoholic concoc- tions to people decades younger,” he says. “Neithe r s itua tion ever struck me as incongruous. You sim- ply put yourself in the target’s head- space. You become that customer, whatever age. I don’t think it’s at all odd, either, to write ads about bras and knickers or cosmetics, even though I’m not in the specific target group, or even gender. Similar ly, you don’t ha ve to be seven to write ads to pre-teens about naughty junk foods,” says Vaughan. Inhabiting customers o f a ll ag es could s eem a sort of Peter Pan-ish refusal to g row old g racefully, admits Vaughan, who thinks he i s often guilty of pus hing c opy (a nd media ideas) too far toward playful- ness a nd f lippancy; le ading s ome clients, to sometimes wish he would grow up. “I won’t, of course. I’ll probably remain mentally younger than any physical age I ’ll ever attain. That’s okay: i t’s eas ier t o pu ll something back - to tone down - than to try to take s omething l ame and spi ce i t up,” he says. Another person who says he is guilty of this Peter Pan approach is Phil Putnam, former co-chairman of AWARD, who works out of his consultancy Putnam Morden with partner Alan Morden. [Morden and Putnam were t he s enior t eam a t Saat chi & Saatchi , Sydn ey in the eighties and n ineties] . He s ays h e personally hasn’t encountered any ageism i n t he i ndustry, b ut h as heard about agencies showing peo- ple the door when they reach a cer- tain age because it’s cheaper to get some you ng kid s in. Putnam con- sider s hav ing a n age policy da ft, Putnam: “I think it depends on the structure of your career, I’ve jumped backwards and forwards from being a creative director to being a writer. I’ve always been one of these people who have had a very young mind; you could say I’ve never grown up” especially with peopl e staying fi tter and he althier for a lot longer. He thinks a l ot of it c omes down t o keeping up to date with what’s new, not just in adver tising, but music, film a nd t he a rts, s omething h e’s always done. “I think i t depends on the s truc- ture of y our c areer, I ’ve j umped backwards and forwards from being a creative director to being a writer. I’ve always been one of these peo- ple who h ave h ad a v ery yo ung mind; you could say I’ve never grown up,” he says. As we ll as w orking as a wr iter Putnam h as f ound a n iche a s a n interim c reative di rector for age n- cies who are in bet ween cr eat ive directors, saying the role of interim manager is well established in other businesses. Putnam considers one of the great benefits of being older is you don’t have a s much o f a c are er a xe t o grind. “The other day I missed out on a job because someone said, ‘we didn’t think y ou’d l ike t o do that job’ and I said, ‘bolloc ks’. Whe n you g et t o a c ertain a ge, and y ou just enjoy writing, you do anything that g ives y ou t hat o pportunity. The day I don’t enjoy doing it, is ? CAM PA IGN B R I E F 17
January February 2008
May June 2008