Our anonymous advertising insider looks like you or me, hanging with the hipsters as a successful marketing creative leader at a trendy London agency, but once a month like the legendary DJ Deadmau5, Adnonamau5 (pronounced ad-nonymous) puts on the mask, drops by the Rockstar CMO penthouse and tells us how it really is.

In this issue Adnonamau5 goes to task on the agencies and people that are getting stale, regardless of experience or age, he has a warning that staying safe is killing you, your brand or your agency.


George Bernard Shaw once said ‘youth is wasted on the young’, I’d like to add to that and say opportunity is wasted on the old!

First let me define what I mean by old…essentially someone who probably has a family, a mortgage, potentially the main income in the household, or in the case of two incomes lives life to the envelope of their wealth, has established themselves and is stable in their chosen career, in other words…a person that is on the up, or a person with a hell of a lot to lose!

So what? Well in my experience this feeling of comfort is killing and has killed the progress of said individuals, the development of those they manage, the companies they work for and the work they produce. All probably without any conscious awareness that they’re doing so.

So how does that manifest itself?

Firstly, in the descent of the individual’s personal integrity.

Through your career in advertising you’ve worked with brilliant minds, been exposed to fantastic work and had the opportunity to work with great brands. At the start of your career the drive to deliver the best work you can is like the proverbial alien in Ripley’s stomach in that brilliant film by the same name…bursting to get out. Then all of a sudden life takes over and your ability to ‘stick it to the man’, to challenge the status quo, to really push the work seems to become more watered down…a little more insipid.

Maybe out of the fear of change you choose not to.

Or perhaps you fail to challenge a client brief that is so absurdly wrong or ambiguous.

Or it might just be you’re really, really comfortable and feel the baton of the disruptor needs to be taken up by others.

Whatever it is, that fire in the belly is now more a glowing ember, and you no longer choose to jump on the opportunities presented to you or seek to discover those that are not.

The second is in the demise of the individual’s professional integrity.

You may find that you talk a great talk but lack the ability to walk the great talk. You probably say…

‘I want exciting ground-breaking work [as long as it’s very, very familiar].

‘I really like that idea but…’

‘No…no…no…’

Driven perhaps by the worry of upsetting the apple cart, not getting a pat on the back from the boss/client or looking stupid by making a creative call you’re not qualified to make.

Either way you are single-handily neutering great work, and the opportunity for your company to differentiate itself and stand out from the crowd.

It doesn’t have to be this way!

I can think of Nike as being a recent great example of seizing opportunities, but more don’t than do.

So, if you’re an ‘old’ ad agency or even client-side employee, be aware of wasting opportunities and keep that 28-year-old version of you alive and kicking.

If you don’t, you should know that single-handily you are killing your brand, your creative agency, and your ability as a marketing professional.

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