The Big Advertising Agency Resource List

Advertising Agency Resource List – Updated Monthly

May 20, 2019 Update.

This list is updated every month. Let me know if there is a resource that should be included.

My advertising agency resource list is curated to help advertising, digital, design and PR agencies easily find the inspiration and industry resources that will help y’all build killer agencies and careers.

As a warm-up to my extensive resource list… I offer a direct link to my best seller on how to win more new accounts for your agency: The Levitan Pitch. Buy This Book. Win More Pitches. I highly recommend that you buy this book. (Of course.)

OK, one more. This blog has over 650 posts dedicated to helping your marketing communications company grow. I hope that my insights on agency business development, growth and management help you to make more bucks.

I recently added links to:

ContactOut. ContactOut is a handy way for you to find actual, human email addresses for people on LinkedIn. real email is way better than a LinkedIn message. And, yes folks, email, when done correctly, does work.

The Newspaper Club. I have been shooting a global photography series. More portraits of more people on more continents than ever. Grandiose and, yup, fun. You can see the work here. One of the things I do after photographing a community is to make them a “photo newspaper.” I use The newspaper Club to print a bunch to share. My mommy always told me to say thank you. Think about what your agency could do with paper to get the attention of your next client (yes, paper.)

Ookla SpeedTest. I travel a lot so I am often in strange places with somewhat scattered Internet service. Um, like my house in Mexico. To check speeds, I use Ookla’s Speed test.

Website Grader. Try HubSpot’s Website grader on your website. How do you do? I get a 94.

The Resources List…

Advertising Agency News Sites

Ad Agency Directories

Top Advertising Blogs

Favorite Social Media Tools

Video Marketing Tools & Information

Creative Inspiration & Idea Generation 

Creative Space & Time

Online Advertising Education

Online Legal Resources

Life After Advertising & How To Make $$$ 

Top Ten Twitter Tools 

Top Advertising And Design Awards 

Marketing & Advertising Podcast

Marketing Tool Generators


Advertising Agency News Resources

  • Advertising Age. Ad Age delivers the latest news from the world of advertising and marketing agencies.
  • Ad Asia Online. AdAsia Online focuses on automation, advertising technology, and creative technology,
  • AdNews. Australia’s advertising, marketing and media industries news resource.
  • Adweek.  Adweek covers media news, including print, technology, plus.
  • branding in asia. Need to know what’s up in the Asian marketing and advertising world? Sure you do. Check out this comprehensive resource for creative work, news, interviews, and insights. Read it and you just might take the next non-stop to Singapore.
  • Business Insider. Business Insider’s daily take on the ad industry.
  • Campaign Asia. Campaign Asia reports on advertising and emerging media in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Campaign Magazine. Ad industry news from the UK’s advertising industry “bible”.
  • Communication Arts. Print publication offering competitions, forums, feature articles, job bank, graphic design resources and online shopping.
  • Creative. The magazine of promotion and marketing.
  • Digiday. Digiday creates content, services and community that foster change in media and marketing.
  • Direct Marketing News. Provides news, feature articles, columns and special reports on direct marketing.
  • The Drum. The alternative to Campaign. Delivers lots of news and views.
  • MediaPost. Comprehensive advertising and media industry coverage.
  • TechCrunch. Keep up (or try to keep up) with the fast-paced world of startups and VC’s.

Ad Agency Directories

  • Ad Forum. Global agency directory and creative gallery.
  • Advertising Agency Search Consultants. My list of the top 34. Any missing?
  • agency compile. A directory of marketing communications agencies plus a searchable database.
  • Agency Spotter. Super fast search for creative, digital, design, and branding firms.
  • The Creative Ham. A list of who the Ham views as the most creative agencies. You can pay up too.
  • Dmoz. Directory of selected advertising agencies in the United States and Canada.
  • LookBook from Ad Age. Use the LookBook Directory to see ad agencies’ robust offerings and content featured in Advertising Age & Creativity to discover new marketing partners.
  • Pinterest Advertising Agency Directory. An easy to scope out agency directory from yours truly.
  • Redbooks. Information and research on advertising agencies and advertisers worldwide.

Top Advertising Blogs

  • Peter Levitan. Yes, MINE! Over 650 blog posts designed to help you grow your advertising, digital and PR agency. Here’s the list of them all.
  • Agency Post. Jami Oetting’s in-depth HubSpot blog for the agency professional.
  • The Ad Contrarian. Bob Hoffman’s personal unfiltered take on the advertising universe.
  • @adweak. Just laugh. Please.
  • AdFreak. AdWEEK’s daily blog of the best and worst of creativity.
  • AdPulp. Serious juice from the ad biz.
  • Advertising Age Blogs. AdAge’s blogs & columns covering advertising, media, and digital news.
  • Agency Spy. Agency Spy covers the ad agency industry from the inside.
  • Digital Project Manager. Simply put…. “The Digital Project Manager provides project management guidance for the digital wild west where crazy clients, tiny budgets & silly deadlines reign supreme.” Check out their interview with moi.
  • Engagio. Want to grow your advertising agency? Engagio’s Account Based marketing will tell you how to do that.
  • Fuel Lines. Insights from Mr. Gass.
  • realSEO. the ultimate site for tips and tricks to grow your video audience.
  • Seth Godin. Just because.
  • Strands of Genius. Follow Rosie & Faris on their voyage to unearth ideas, events, news and who knows. You’ll be smarter.
  • TrinityP3. Like it easy? Just sign up for their Twitter account. Yes, they speak Austrailian.

Favorite Social Media Tools

  • bitly. Bitly shortens URLs and reports on clicks.
  • Buffer. The fastest way to schedule and share content across social media platforms.
  • Canva. A free tool that makes it easy to create custom graphics to go with your social media posts.
  • ContactOut. ContactOut is a handy way for you to find actual, human email addresses for people on LinkedIn. real email is way better than a LinkedIn message. And, yes folks, email, when done correctly, does work.
  • Google Alerts. Stay ahead of client, a prospective client (as in category, brand, and people)and industry news by creating a list of Google Alerts.  Frankly, this should be a primary business development t tool.
  • Google Analytics. You want to track your website right?
  • Google Keyword Planner. Find the best keywords for any subject or marketing goal.
  • Grammarly. Check your spelling and grammar right from your browser. I have to have this!
  • Klear. Find influencers on Twitter via Klear’s large database of 60K+ categorized social profiles.
  • K-Meta. A free, just try it, keyword and competitive tool.
  • Long Tail Pro. A keyword tool used by the pros.
  • Snagit.screen image and video capture plugin that allows you to grab what you see on your computer screen to edit and share.
  • srproutsocial. A sweet social media tool to manage messages across multiple accounts.
  • tweepi. A fast way to grow your Twitter Follower list.
  • TweetDeck . A desktop Twitter management tool with a nice clean UI.
  • Twitonomy. I love this competitive tool. See what the other guy is up to.
  • Website Grader. Try HubSpot’s Website grader on your website. How do you do? I get a 94.
  • Yoast. The best WordPress SEO plugin.

Video Marketing Tools & Information

  • ADWEEK. ADWEEK on YouTube video viewability plus a handy infographic.
  • BirdSong Analytics. Pay as you go video and social competitive analytics platform. Se what works for your competition.
  • Cyfe. Track your YouTube channel progress and stats for individual videos.
  • Facebook Video. Facebook’s video marketing guide.
  • Forbes. Why “mobile video advertising will eat the world.”
  • YouTube Into. YouTube’s very own guide to their video ad platform.
  • realSEO. the ultimate site for tips and tricks to grow your video audience.
  • SEO Chat Keyword Suggest Tool. This is a cool tool to easily find a range of keywords for videos.
  • SproutSocial. Vimeo or YouTube… which is best for agency marketing?
  • The Video Ink. A Quick look at the pros and cons of video ad platforms.
  • Vimeo. HD videos for all.
  • Visual Measures. Lots of information, stats, and charts for your next video oriented client meeting.
  • Wistia. A lovely and smart video marketing platform for business. Nice tracking.

Creative Inspiration & Idea Generation

  • Ads Of The World. According to them: Ads of the World is the world’s largest advertising archive.
  • Adland. Ads and more ads.
  • Awwwards. A place to view some of the latest and greatest websites.
  • Brand New. An opinionated look at corporate and brand ID work.
  • Complex. A fine and, yes, complex look at current culture. Hours of fun.
  • Creative Bloq. Got design block? Dive in here.
  • Creative Guerrilla Marketing. The name kinda gives it away.
  • design milk. A full plate of design substance for your body and mind.
  • deMilked. An endless array of posts about what everyone else is doing.
  • Friends Of Type. Even type freaks can be friendly.
  • FWA. An excellent resource to taste some of the best website design.
  • Indie Nudes. Do not spank me for this one. Just make (!) sure you scroll down and look at all of the links. This is a very creative space.
  • Inspiration Room. A global effort designed to influence, affect and involve creative communities. As in, ideas to get you going.
  • KissMetrics Blog. A blog about analytics, marketing, and testing. The real deal to help you help 2016 clients.
  • Packaging Of The World. A sweet searchable database of the global package design universe.
  • Social Media Examiner. Your guide to the social media jungle.

Creative Space & Time

  • Moving To Mexico. I wrote this just for you. Why and how to move to Mexico. I did. I’m very happy.
  • 30/30: An effective productivity app for the procrastinator.
  • Ad Block: OK, OK, I know that this is a major NO-NO. But, stop looking at those Zappos ads!
  • Bose Quiet Comfort Headphones 25. My favorite noise canceling phones. Airplanes love these.
  • Coffitivity: Stream the sounds of a coffee shop at work. Good training for when you freelance.
  • Duolingo. Fast (up to you) and free online & mobile way to learn languages.
  • Games List: Need a break?
  • Headspace. Just like it sounds. A meditation app for your mobile, available for both iPhone & Android.
  • The Newspaper Club. I have been shooting a global photography series. More portraits of more people on more continents than ever. Grandiose and, yup, fun. You can see the work here. One of the things I do after photographing a community is to make them a “photo newspaper.” I use The newspaper Club to print a bunch to share. My mommy always told me to say thank you. Think about what your agency could do with paper to get the attention of your next client (yes, paper.)
  • Noisli:Background noise & color generator.
  • Spotify. My streaming system.
  • Timer Tab: A tool to help control your thinking time.
  • toggl. As an agency owner, I needed to keep track of the hours that we all used to meet the needs of our clients. While I think that tracking every minute kinda sucks, we simply have to track our time to help the agency be profitable. toggl is a very simple timer tool.
  • Trello. Keep track of everything & collaborate.

Online Education

  • Codecademy. It is time for you to learn to code. At least, start to sound like you care to your CTO.
  • Coursera. Lots of career advancement courses. Like attending a Wharton course on marketing.
  • Freakonomics. Listen, learn and out-smart your clients.
  • Google Online Marketing. Learn from the leader.
  • The How. Learn from entrepreneurs.
  • HubSpot Inbound Training. Get on the inbound marketing bandwagon or, frankly… be left behind.
  • Khan Academy. Free courses from programming to economics to finance to what you should have learned in the 8th grade.
  • Launch This Year. Get ready to launch your online business — this year.
  • The Lean LaunchPad. How to Build a Startup
  • Lyndia. Yikes! Go forth and learn… 4,354 courses · 169,690 video tutorials
  • Marketing @ TedTalks: Prefer video? here are the top TedTalks on marketing.
  • Mixergy. Entrepreneurs training  other entrepreneurs. Or, how to start your own advertising agency.
  • Skillshare. Courses designed for the creative in you.
  • Startup Notes. Need inspiration? Hear startup founders tell their personal stories.
  • Smart Passive Income. Let Pat help you leave advertising, and go live on a beach while watching your PayPal account grow.
  • Startup Talks. More startup videos.
  • UdemyYou name it, they teach it.

Online Legal Resources

  • Agency Legal ProtectionSharon Toerek answers important legal questions like this: “What should we do to protect the agency during a new business pitch?”
  • Cornell University’s Library. Dig databases? You’ve arrived at a long list of legal databases by subject.
  • Legalzoom. From wills (get one!!!) through incorporation (for your new agency). LegalZoom is the leader in online legal docs. They are an ex-client of my agency and I have been using them for years. Know what, way back when… they were a great client of mine and they loved to eat well in L.A.
  • Docracy. Open source legal documents.
  • Docusign. Legal online signatures. No more inky hands.
  • Find Law UK. Employee rights for UK workers.
  • 4A’s On Compensation Agreements. Read this before you marry that new client. Consider this prenup advice.
  • Right Law. Employee rights explained. Yes, you have rights.

Life After Advertising & How To Make $$$

  • Entrepreneur. How to start a business online. I know you want to.
  • Ferris / Kagen. Seriously – How to create a million dollar business… This weekend. Do this from your beloved cube.
  • Fizzle.  How can you pass this up? “Excellent courses from real experts and a community of like-minded business builders.”
  • Razor Social. Ian is another genius who will tell you how to make money from your blog. He does!
  • Reddit. Hear your peers hash out what your life after your advertising career looks like.
  • Small Business Association. The SBA to you. Your federal tax dollars want to help you build a business so you can employ your ex-ad agency friends.
  • Smart Passive Income. How to build an online passive income business. Read every word. Listen to the podcasts. Take control of your life.
  • Social Media Monitor. A vast resource for social media advice. use it in your day job too.
  • The Social M’s. How to use guest blogging to help grow your business. I do. Read about it here.
  • The How. Learn from entrepreneurs.

Top Ten Twitter Tools

  • With a 140 character limit, you have to shorten any URL’s posted to Twitter. does a bit more cool stuff. But shortening alone means you need to have this built into your browser.
  • Buffer. Buffer is my number one easy to use scheduling system, it is connected to my WordPress blog to automatically send my blog post URL’s and a snippet to Twitter (and LikedIn and Facebook). Importantly because I need to save time, it also allows me to schedule a set of  Tweets into the future.
  • Canva. According to the Gods of social media, having a graphic will increase your clicks and retweets by something like over 1 million times, or was it a billion. Or, some crazy number like a trillion. Canva is a very easy to use web-based graphics tool that edits images that you’ll use in your Tweets and can even be used by your CEO.
  • Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a social media dashboard that allows you to work on and monitor Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, WordPress from one place. It goes deeper so head over if you are looking for a ‘total’ solution.
  • HubSpot. HubSpot is a very big boy. Its inbound software will help your agency attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. And, you can use it to woo new clients with your supreme inbound marketing expertise. As in, using HubSpot will make your agency a social media expert that actually has tools it can resell.
  • Klear. Klear (formerly Twtrland) delivers social monitoring, influencer marketing, and competitive intelligence. Try it out for free. The full plate is a bit expensive. But, it works as a smart business development tool. You gotta spend money to make money.
  • Social Quant. Social Quant says, “Social Quant increases the size and quality of your Twitter account rapidly.” OK, how can you beat that? Try the 14-day trial and then splurge and pay them $50 bucks per month.
  • Twitonomy. Use Twitter as a competitive wrench. As Twitonomy says, “Get detailed and visual analytics on anyone’s tweets, retweets, replies, mentions, hashtags… Browse, search, filter and get insights on the people you follow and those who follow you.” Damn, go forth and use your competitor’s data against them, um, for you!

Top Advertising And Design Awards

  • ADDY Awards. This is the largest award program with over 5 million entries – local agencies love this one because it can level the playing field vs. the mega shops. Competition includes three levels of judging: local, regional, and national. Winning an ADDY at each level qualifies the work to progress to the next higher level.
  • Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The big boy and, if you like acting as if you are a major playa, it’s a great excuse to use up your expense account. The seven-day festival that includes the coveted Lions award is held yearly in Cannes (that’s France to you). Win this and you’ll get a big bonus.
  • The Clio Awards. Another big international award that should get you a round of drinks at your local. Time Magazine described the event as the world’s most recognizable international advertising awards. Even your mum will smile.
  • Communication Arts Annuals. Communication Arts puts out a series of publications that highlight the best in advertising and design. Believe me, you want to have your work highlighted in The Illustration Annual, The Interactive Annual, The Advertising Annual, The Typography Annual or The Design Annual. These are nice mags to send out to your prospects.
  • The Effie Awards. The Effies honors the most effective marketing programs. That means, your work actually moved the sales dial and not just the right (as in creative) side of another Creative Director’s brain. Clients dig this one.
  • The One Club. The One Club produces four annual award competitions: One Show, One Show Design, One Show Interactive, and One Show Entertainment. The One Club pencil award will fit nicely on your shelf.
  • The D&AD (Design & Art Direction). A British award that, according to the D&AD “…exists to stimulate, enable and award creative excellence in design and advertising.”
  • OMMA. Media Post’s OMMA Awards honor agencies and advertisers that push the potential of digital advertising.
  • Rosey Awards. Portland just might be the most creative city in America (on a per capita basis that is). The Rosey Awards competition is run annually by the Portland Advertising Federation – the oldest ad club in America. Good news… Wieden & Kennedy has stiff competition.
  • The Webby Award. The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences’ Webby Awards is all about honoring excellence in digital and Internet marketing. Categories include brand content, DIY videos, and over 30 categories in Advertising & Media.

Marketing & Advertising Podcasts

  • Build A Better Agency. Drew Mclellan’s series is dedicated to the art of advertising agency management and new business. Listen up.
  • Neil Patel. Just go here now.
  • Tim Ferris. I became a Tim Ferris addict after reading his brilliantly titled best-seller, “The Four Hour Work Week.” Tim combines a very active and curious mind, an effervescent talent for self-promotion in the best sense and a very long list of talented friends to interview. I find at least 75% of his podcasts (and blog posts) to fall in the zone of high mental stimulation. Of course, one of his recent interviews is with Seth Godin.
  • Duct Tape Marketing.  Another serious and broad look at the tools and techniques marketers are employing today. 
  • Foundr Magazine. Nathan Chan interviews some of the most successful founders in the world to find out what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. Go for the osmosis.
  • TED Radio Hour. If you don’t have the time to watch TED Talks, then listen to them via their podcast.
  • Six Pixels Of Separation. A secret…  Leverage the power of social media to grow your agency. One of the most active advertising agency leaders using social media is Canada’s Mitch Joel (CEO of WPP’s Mirum) and his Six Pixels Of Separation podcast which, as of today, get this, has 508 podcasts. Clearly a record and what should be an inspiration to any agency CEO who values the marketing power of looking smart and building fame for his agency. Oh, you’ll see just one of the reasons why I love this podcast by clicking on the link.
  • Sound Opinions. Now that we’ve killed the record / CD store, it seems like it is more difficult (as in time-consuming) to know what’s going on in music. I get my fix from MBEZ’s Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis. Listen to this and have something other than Steph Curry to talk about at those client dinners.
  • Freakonomics Radio.  The Freakonomics team explores “the hidden side of everything”. From the economy, headline news to pop culture. A great example is the “Economics of Sleep” show.
  • #ASKGARYVEE. Best-selling books, one of the fastest growing advertising agencies, and a renowned wine business. Gary is the energizer bunny of agency CEO’s. Listen to this show about how to accelerate business growth. Your clients are probably listening to him.
  • Smart Passive Income. This podcast series from Pat Flynn will do two things for you. 1. It will make you much smarter about the universe of digital strategies and tactics (even how to do a podcast series). But, more importantly, 2. It will help you figure out how to make money by building your own online business. Pat made over $171,000 last month – not working for the MAN and he will tell you how. A way to get past advertising.
  • Social Media Marketing. Michael Stelzner’s podcast is designed to deliver the latest news and perspectives on social media. There is a very good chance your clients listen, so you better too. Need an up to date Facebook strategy? Listen to this show.

Marketing Tool Generators

Resources, Resources, Repeat, Repeat

Bookmark this advertising agency resource list (hey, I have to keep on repeating this so Google loves me) or sign up for my weekly newsletter to never (did I say never) miss any of my favorite incredibly useful advertising agency resources.

Thanks for stopping by.

Oh, need a nice list of small business resources? Check out the Entrepreneurship and Small Business Resource Guide from Job Hero.

How To Name Your Advertising Agency: Part One

advertising nameHow To Name Your Advertising Agency

This is Part One of a two-part series on how to name your advertising agency (or, most businesses for that matter).

Other than the gyrations that agencies constantly go through with how to position their agency (go here to see my advice on agency positioning); design and redesign their website… how they name themselves is one of their most important branding decisions.

I worked for three advertising agencies. Two were “founder” agencies: Dancer Fitzgerald Sample (remember “Where’s the beef?”) and Saatchi & Saatchi (which bought Dancer) and the other was my very own Portland agency and its “current usage” name: Citrus. Or, as one of our creative directors thought was critical to our success, citrus, with a lower case “c.’

A Question…

Do advertising names matter? Wow, this is a tough one to answer. As you will see from the different naming conventions listed below, how one chooses a name is a broad journey. However, just for the hell of it, here are some of the names for AdAge’s 2018 Small Agency Awards. Do any of these agency names instill immediate confidence? A must call reaction? Are memorable?

  • Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners
  • Mistress
  • Johnxhannes
  • Funworks
  • Oberland
  • Imprint Projects
  • Phenomenon
  • Brownstein Group
  • Chemistry
  • Yard
  • PB&
  • Spawn ideas
  • Next/Now

My favorite (at least for this one second) is Next/Now. This name kind of meets a client pain point.

Part One: Types Of Advertising Agency Names

I recently asked one of my advertising agency clients how they selected their name (note, it’s a word you use every day in your kitchen.) They said that they went through a fairly random process with the goal of finding a name that was easy to remember and not taken. Well, that’s one way to do it. Another is to apply process.

Before I begin to riff on how to name an advertising agency, I feel the need to list some of the crazier ad agency names. Here you go:

Steak / Big Spaceship / Wexley School For Girls / Farm / Mooseylvania / Space 150 /   Sasquatch / Heresy / Poke / Droga5 / Barton F. Graf 9000 / Mekanism / 72andSunny / Mistress / G&M PLumbing / Almighty  / TKO

You get the idea.

A Few Words On Naming An Advertising Agency

Read More »

Google Will Screw Your Ad Agency

Google is going to screw your ad agency.

Or, better said, they are going to mess with your organic listing. Which means, that your ad agency will be harder to find. And, therefore screwed.

Many of the ad, digital, etc. agencies I talk with tell me that their SEO is not delivering the power that it once did. Between ads taking top positions, Google’s desire to answer your inquiry right on page one in a snippet (like Google’s answering what the tallest tree is in a two-sentence snippet so you do not even have to go to the expert tree website).

Google is changing, again.

I urge you to go to Neil Patel’s How Google’s New Layout Predicts the Future of SEO to read an in-depth review of what Google is doing/considering. Believe me, this is not good news for you or me since I get the majority of my leads from a Google search.

From Neil: The big trend is that the organic search results have been drastically pushed down below the fold. Roughly by 3.3X.

How does that look? Pretty bad folks. One example… who is ever going to see that blog that you spend hours crafting?


What To Do?

First of all, the benefits of a Google search will not go away. Sure your ad agency might be on page two or three but I am going to imagine that people will scroll down a bit more to see the organic lists. OK, maybe. What can your ad agency do? Read More »

34 Advertising Agency Search Consultants

Advertising Agency Search Consultants – The Personal Shoppers Of The Ad World

I’ve updated the list of search consultants. 34 might not be the absolute number after updating. But, I can not update the URL – so, there. Let me know if I am missing any consultancies. Thanks.

Before I get into the subject, I want to make an important point. Whether or not your agency has the chops and appropriate expertise to get the attention of a search consultant, please try to look and act different. Yes, you might be a great social media agency. But, I bet you have at least a dozen look-alike competitors. Ask how you will stand out under the scrutiny of expert consultants. Ask me to help you.

The Search Consultant

Advertising agency search consultants help clients locate the perfect agency out of hundreds, even thousands, of small and large agency options. It is estimated that about 10% to 15% of all searches use the services of a consultant (I am thinking about dollar volume, not total agency searches.) I suspect that the number of consultant-led pitches is well over 50% for clients that have large budgets, complicated accounts and now, highly specialized agency requirements.

Should Your Agency Contact Search Consultants?

Should your agency contact the search consultants on this list? Well, yes and no.

Read More »

Advertising and Ageism

Advertising and Ageism = Insanity

I am going to discuss two forms of advertising and ageism. First, as it relates to agency staffing and second about the insanity of not marketing to the richest consumer market.

Start Here: There are few areas of the advertising industrial complex that baffles more than rampant ageism. Here is a World Health Organization definition of the master issue…

Ageism is the stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age; ageism can take many forms, including prejudicial attitudes, discriminatory practices, or institutional policies and practices that perpetuate stereotypical beliefs.

I see two areas where ageism lives in advertising.

Oh, oh… before I start. I was going to use Jeff Goodby of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (that’s him in the photo) as an example of an ‘older’ guy who still works in advertising. But, and I find this kinda humorous, it is virtually impossible to find out how old Jeff is. I suspect that he has erased age from his bio.

First: Ageism and Advertising Agency Staffing

There is no question that the advertising industry is about young people and the not over 45 employee. According to AdAge:

In 2017, the majority, or 63 percent, of workers in advertising, public relations and related services were under 45 years of age, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median age in the category was 39.2—roughly the same as a decade earlier. (By comparison, the median age in accounting, including tax prep, bookkeeping and payroll services, was 45.)

Though I find advertising agency employee-based ageism unnerving, I understand this bias from a business perspective. As an ex-agency owner, I know the need to keep staff costs down. In what is becoming a lower and lower margin industry, cost efficiency, especially when it relates to salaries and healthcare costs is critical. My over 50 employees cost a lot more than my under 40.

Another reason that agencies go “young” is that there is the perception that older workers do not “get” new digital marketing platforms. Really? Are we really thinking that one has to have been born after 1990 to understand how digital marketing works? I am twice the age of the average agency employee. Yet, I was one of the ‘inventors’ of digital news in 1995, launched the first natural language marketing interface in 2000 (think bots) and ran an Oregon agency that specialized in digital marketing. Do you think that I am the only older person that gets it? I mean frankly, how much of a fucking genius do you have to be to understand Instagram video?

I think that the idea that anyone over 45 does not get it is simply an excuse to keep costs down by reducing the number of more expensive employees.

Second: Ageism and Advertising’s Missing Demographic

Imagine a marketer waking up and not wanting to market to a huge segment of the population? Well, that is how advertising works today.

Despite being a massive market, only about 5% of U.S. advertising is even aimed at people over 50 according to Havas Group. There are many reasons for this. But I think that ageism plays a part (like you are 27 and like why would I want to spend my client’s budget on people like my parents?) I mean, they don’t use Snapchat. They don’t play Minecraft. They don’t binge drink.

When you staff up an agency with 27-year-olds, you are going to miss having a bunch of people with broader life experiences. The kind of life experience (and no, I am not suggesting that agencies need in-house 70-year-olds) that helps your agency sell more stuff.

Isn’t an advertising agency in the business of selling more stuff? To like, whomever?

Possibly, not selling more stuff is a reason that advertising agencies are not perceived as being essential as they used to be to driving client sales.

OK, time for my milk and cookies.

Want more? Read this from Fast Company: Why marketing to seniors is so terrible.