• Michelle McKinney

AGEISM IN THE AD INDUSTRY

Updated: Feb 5

“Excuse me, when were you born?”


I love that so many people are talking, posting, and ranting about ageism in the advertising industry. Thanks to @cindygallop and LinkedIn’s @danroth and so many others! Over the last few years the “company mission” for agencies has been focused on all the various “isms” but rarely ageism. When I first started in advertising I remember being the youngest person in meetings and looking at someone that was 35 as “kind of old”. I can’t say I remember anyone being over 50! Flash forward to my last gig at 72andSunny – a place often referred to as 27andSkinny – where I realized many times during my years there,

“Wow, I could be the mother of most of the people in this meeting!”

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

As many point out in their articles and rants, the ad industry is obsessed with youth. The biggest misconception seems that anyone over 50 is old and not culturally relevant. Sure there are some 50+ people that aren’t plugged into current culture or up on the latest technology, but the stereotype that if you’re over 50 you’re slow and not creative is utter nonsense.


I feel the opposite is true. Anyone over 50 would probably agree, that it’s at around 50 that you’re finally comfortable in your skin. This tends to produce some incredibly satisfying I’ve-done-this-shit-for-years-so-let-me-enlighten-you-with-my-creativity-and-extensive-knowledge moments!


I think it’s high time that somebody @AdAge @Adweek @Forbes started the “50 OVER 50” Awards, celebrating these quite successful, very experienced, highly creative, and resilient humans. I’ll start the nominations with, Rob Schwartz, CEO, TBWA/Chiat/Day NY, @robschwartz, who worked with me back when I was the youngest person in the room, my husband, Peter McKinney, Founder & Chief Astronaut of SPACESUIT, @Spacesuitco1, who is one of the most creative people I’ve ever known, and Terri and Sandy, the two amazing women who run @TerriAndSandy, who I don’t know but wish I did… and there are so so many more...it’s an impressive list! #ageism #fiftyover50 #hailstormio

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