It’s a familiar question you hear in agencies all over the world. What happens to old creatives? Where the hell do they all go?

In England, clearly they go to the coast and raise puppies, but what happens to those who are allergic to dogs, or oysters? Those who still love doing what they do whilst the mean ages of everyone around them shrink to school leaver levels.
The trick is to stay relevant and engaged, to care about what you do and don’t act like a dinosaur. Experience gains knowledge but that doesn’t mean you are always right, it just means that you have a different perspective to someone who is experiencing the same brief for the first time.
Just because you’ve seen it before, you don’t automatically have the right answer to it, you just have an answer.
Fear kills a lot of creatives. Fear of sharing their knowledge. Fear of losing relevance and stature. Fear of youth. Agency life is rather like one of those planet earth films where the young pretender challenges the grizzly silverback, and even if the veteran wins you know it’s only a matter of time until his demise.
I’m fascinated by Asian culture that manages to meld the experience of age and the vitality of youth so that the two are not in opposition but blended, but even that seems to be being eroded by the constant quest for youth. Like a dowager vampire sucking on virgin’s blood in order to feel youth again, the desire to be young often over-rides any other creative consideration. I recently went to the website of an influencer agency and every one of their ‘talent’ was a pretty girl (or to a lesser extend an equally pretty guy) in their 20s. We all want to suck the social blood of these special creatures.
Perhaps it was ever thus, youth trumps experience, half of Shakespeare’s plays seem to be about this very subject, but perhaps now it just seems more brutal because the prize is not a crown or true love, but a shonky marketing brief for a start-up asking everyone to work for free.
I’m neither on the side of age nor youth, both bring something vital to the party, and the trick is to balance these two opposing elements to produce a space where respect for all skills is essential. Except at the xmas party, leave the dancefloors to the kids…. #dadancing