IS THERE AGE DISCRIMINATION IN AD AGENCIES?
A lawsuit filed earlier this month in the U.S. by a longtime McCann Erickson media executive who alleges he was wrongfully terminated because of his age is drawing attention to what one executive recruiter calls "the elephant in the room". The advertising business has always been a youth-obsessed profession because of the demographic-targeting requirements of so much of its end product, but today new forces are shaping industry perceptions and planning. Marketers are exerting intense pressure on agencies to find new ways to adapt to a rapidly evolving media landscape. Insiders acknowledge a general industry sense that the new world of digital communications is "a young person's business." Some even suggest that "15, 20 or 25 years of experiences can actually be a disadvantage" for agency personnel who must suddenly reorient themselves to operate effectively in a digital environment. Others argue that the issue of competence in this field is not related to age but rather to a person's attitude and enthusiasm for adapting to and finding energizing challenges in a time of epochal change.
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: Do you think that the changing media environment is fueling age discrimination at ad agencies?