The fountain of youth is not the be-all and end-all

Last week, Campaign announced its latest 40 Over 40 list to tip our hat to hard work and experience and challenge the industry’s obsession with youth.

Hi! I’m Alison, the new U.S. editor of Campaign. Welcome to my weekly blog, where I cover what’s happening now and what’s next in advertising, media and creativity in our hyper-connected, remote-first world.

The advertising industry is stubborn in its obsession with youth.

On its surface, this fixation makes sense. Younger generations are always ahead of culture, so brands run after them to stay relevant and interesting. Plus, young people are still growing into their spending power, they’re extraordinarily digitally savvy, and their creativity is tailor-made for our social-first world.

But I would argue that legacy is more relevant now than ever.

Ruth Bader Ginbserg came into her fame as a pop culture icon in her 80s. The progressive pedigree she built through decades as a lawyer, activist and Supreme Court justice led to her eternal enshrinement as “The Notorious RBG,” an enduring inspiration for today’s youth. (I mean really, is there anyone more badass than RBG?)

RBG taught us so many things, but one lesson the industry can heed is that it obsesses over youth at its own risk. Marketers need to keep up with what’s current, but experience, dedication and impact can be infinitely more relevant than the next flash in the pan. 

And senior talent is absolutely critical to running a successful business.

So rather than add to the sky-high pile of “30 Under 30” lists out there, Campaign chooses instead to celebrate experience. Last week, we unveiled our class of 2020 40 Over 40 honorees to recognize leaders who have spent their careers shaping culture and building this industry into what it is today. These people often don’t get the recognition they deserve.

From adland legends like Chuck McBride to Droga5’s Susie Nam and Walton Isaacson’s Christine Villanueva, there are endless creative stars still burning bright at senior levels in their careers. 

This all may sound trite coming from someone who was born in the ‘90s (gasp!). But I owe my career to the guidance of very talented and experienced people. So cheers to hard work and dedication, and to brilliant, hard-working people of all ages.

Until next week,



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