08 June, 2012
Where do old creatives go? It's a question similarly unanswerable like, 'How come you never see baby pigeons or why are Orange Smarties the only ones that are flavoured? Of course there are the geniuses who go on to be CD, ECD, EECD or CEOCDFDACWJCB, but for the majority hitting 40 - 50 who are starting to dress more for comfort than Shoreditch; what happens to them when a new management team want to 'freshen up' or re-jig' the creative department?
Has anyone ever been to an Advertising Creative's retirement party?
Is it a bit like being a footballer? Do you gradually play down the leagues until you're playing for your local ad agency/pub/post office, boring people about how you used to be big time? Did I ever tell you about my shoot in LA with David La Chappelle? (It's a great story, btw)
As I turned 35 this year, I've started to question my own advertising mortality. I know I can do the job, occasionally I can do it damn good. But it seems the more ear and nasal hair that seems to be sprouting (and the occasional eyebrow hair that would make a convincing comb over) I'm wondering what the hell am I going to do at 50+ (if I manage to get away with doing this) when ultimately, my number comes up for re-freshment?
So we've established that some go on to be Sage's of the ad world, some manage to direct creativity and some manage to write about how good advertising used to be. Then you've got the college route. Here you can still talk about advertising and impart your wisdom to young minds and become a lesser paid but much better hours creative director. You've got the people who start up businesses in the 'burbs and then you've got......... what?!?!
What do you do? What is there?
I have no idea.
In a way it could be like pressing the reset button. Perhaps start again. Although when I was 9 I could still have been a race car driver. At 50, I'm likely to be the size of the car, much less fit in it. In all honesty, what job does any 50 year old want to do, less even get an interview for?
Do I pursue that idea that plumbers and electricians make a fortune these days and retrain to get a 'Trade' whereby I drive around either unblocking toilets or flipping trip switches in old peoples houses until I'm 75 - I'm not keen I'll be honest.
There's always the 'write a book' option. Apparently everyone has at least one good one in them. I could take the easy option and make it a children's book, whereby the emphasis is on the drawings. (I've read a few since Finn was born and I reckon this has legs) I already have a title 'Granny Rob & her stupid dog'. This is a series that could run forever with the material my lovely mother-in-law provides on an almost weekly basis.
I could follow trend and do my own start up and then sell it for £millions. This seems very popular, I just need the £millions and a few blue chip clients to get started.
Early retirement? I should probably start a pension if that's going to happen.
The lottery? This would solve a lot of problems, not only when the time comes but a few now too.
I really don't know if there's an answer. I suppose I'll have to work out how to play it when/if the time comes. Fortunately, I married someone more talented and business savvy than me, so perhaps I'll just become a Trophy husband.
Only time will tell.
Posted by George