Clients who only hire pretty young things
17th September 2014
We've just won a pitch. It nearly killed us but the boss is happy. But something the client said in the meeting, a man in his mid-to-late thirties, really pissed me off. He was such a smug little git.
He and his colleagues felt we were best suited for the job as we were younger and seemed to be more “in touch” with their company’s targeted audience, hence we would be better at pitching and communicating with journalists about the company’s products and services.
One of the competing agencies had been represented by two women in their mid-forties and the client felt that they might not be “as connected or have the right amount of energy required to deliver on the brief”. Honestly, what crap? Not only is that age discrimination, but it is stupid and ill-judged selection criteria!
And what does this tell us about our future careers in the PR game? Well basically, at the merest sight of a wrinkle, we need to be out-of here! And that as long as we are wide-eyed and fawning towards our clients we might have a chance!
What a load of shite! What happened to experience, focused energy on the things that matter, relationships built up over time, insight into the human psyche and knowing how the media works?
And let’s face it, we are talking mainly about pretty female youth. Men tend to get away with greying hair, being unshaven, hair loss, paunches and boring clothes, it is always called ‘gravitas’ in their case.
In a society where we are going to have to work for longer, what kind of future in the industry does this spell out for the 20 to 30 something’s when they hear that they might be considered “irrelevant” at mid-40 or mid-50 by their clients, and thereby their employers? And what are we doing about –what is essentially an industry-wide PR problem – communicating our value? Chuff all I suspect.
Pissed Off? We certainly are.