Following my inclusion in last year’s inaugural Campaign ‘40 over 40’ list, a Client asked me how I felt about the fact everyone therefore knew my age. Clearly the fact that she even asked the question meant, that for her, this was a truly horrifying thing. We went on to talk about how in her particular industry vertical, age was not openly discussed or referenced to such a degree, particularly for a female (and I agree the gender angle is another consideration and topic entirely (!)); and that comparatively working in media and advertising it’s less surprising that we should consider age to be a taboo in any way – particularly as we still use labels and badges originated to describe audiences.
Being over 40 is just one of many targeting strings I could fall into – I’m a mum, a self-confessed coffee addict who loves wine, football, Marvel, HIIT and lots more – unsurprisingly building a pen portrait of who I am need not start with just my age. So should it matter? Understanding audiences and drilling down into who we’re looking to target as real people, not just by socio-demographic classification, is a fundamental part of the d19 planning process, ‘media made human’. Considering audience motivation and behaviours ‘in real life’ not just textbook terminology sets us apart as an agency and we’re growing a list of award wins to showcase that.
And in the week that the inspirational 40 year old Dame Deborah James tragically lost her battle with bowel cancer, I think we should channel her zest for celebrating life however you choose to; and not let any fixation with age get in the way. So many congratulations to this years’ 40 on the list, enjoy the accolade, whatever your own ‘big number’.