We think it’s time to recognise and celebrate the true talent in our industry, the creatives, technologists, founders and leaders that are really driving our industry and shaping society, who just happen to be over 50. 50over50 is a series of interviews, shortly to become a podcast, with our most influential and inspiring industry leaders aged 50 and over.
While the digital, marketing and advertising industry remains in thrall to the cult of youth, continually celebrating young talent, accelerating generational shifts over the last three decades mean this focus is becoming dangerously short sighted.
Never mind that this shuns the consumers who are the true influencers when it comes to household spending — 78% of over 50s command the purse-strings in their households, with the age group accounting for half of all consumer spending in the UK — in the digital economy it means the industry in danger of losing out on the knowledge and experience of those who have built the digital industry from the ground up.
Cindy Gallop is one of the industry’s most creative and uncompromising mavericks, summed by her self description: “I like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business.’ Formerly chairman of BBH, she left the corporate ad industry in 2005 to become founder and CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn.tv and focus on consultancy and public speaking.
What creative heights are you now capable of that you wouldn’t have been able to achieve at the early or mid-point of your career?
I no longer give a damn what anybody thinks, and that liberates me to have truly visionary ideas and have the confidence in myself to know that I can make them happen.
What is the biggest mistake companies — brands or the industry – are making in their attitude to age today?
They don’t understand that experience and expertise are incredibly time and cost efficient, and that they could be making huge amounts more money by hiring, promoting, valuing and retaining older employees.
What are you most excited about in your industry over the next 10 years?
How completely it’s being reinvented by women, people of colour, LGBTQ, disabled and older people.
What is your biggest regret about the industry today?
That the closed loop at the top of it, white guys talking to white guys about other white guys, doesn’t understand how much happier they would be, how much more creative their output would be and how much more money they would all be making, if they welcomed in and handed over opportunity to women, people of colour, LGBTQ, disabled and older people.
What one thing are you proudest of in your career?
The fact that, after ten years of struggle and fighting every possible obstacle the tech and business world can throw at me, my startup MakeLoveNotPorn is still here.
What gives you the most satisfaction in your role today?
Being my own boss.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?
What advice would you give your 25-year old self?
Start your own business asap.
Read more in our 50over50 series here.