Why Am I the Oldest Person Working On [name whatever it is]

I was researching my post about Rob Strasser and found this post on the adidas internal blog – their History Project – the post was written by the ‘Godfather’ of the project: Peter Moore.

Feel like you’re the oldest person on the project? Have a
seat.

Feel like you’re the oldest person on the project? Have a seat.

As a native Oregonian, and way back when I was a graphic designer, always looking for a cool assignment, I paid attention to the folks at Nike and adidas. I had friends there and occasionally did a little freelance work for them. So the fact that they were – and still are my contemporaries seems somewhat odd.

I still think of them as 30-somethings. I’m surely 30 in my head. 

What struck me was what Peter Moore, the Godfather, had to say about his age:

Finally, the reason I am the “Godfather” of this project is simply because I am, by far, the oldest person on this project (and most every adidas project I work on).”

I’ve written about ageism, as it applies to advertising, and perhaps it is a young-person’s game. There’s a lot of changing technology, things are moving faster – or so everyone seems to think. Well, information travels faster, and therefore marketing a product must be immediate. But even more importantly, it must be relevant.

We’re not too old to work on your project. But why do I always feel like I'm the oldest person in the room? 

Oh, that's right. Because I am. What good is longevity in an advertising career if we can't apply and share all those lessons learned?

The process itself (any process really) does take time. To do things well and thoughtfully, and make them truly relevant, does take skill, experience and thorough consideration. Why is it that we react just as quickly to the unimportant [some celeb’s drunken escapade], as we do to the tragedies [Boston Marathon bombings]?

I think that we all need to step back from our media-filled frenzy and decide what is truly important for our clients and, even more, for ourselves. Faster isn’t better. It just gets you there faster – which may have been an unnecessarily rough ride.

React to what’s important – you may not be the most experienced to determine what that is. That's where us old folks come in handy. After all, responding quickly to the emergencies in advertising is what we seem to be about these days. The passage of time fine-tunes our personal GPS. We know how to get there quickly, but we have the experience that allows us to sort the celeb disaster from the real disasters.

Time to have a chat with your resident ‘sage’ – and pay attention. They’ve been there. Done that. You’ll learn a lot. And they are willing to share.

Slow down to be better.