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Ad Industry Suffers From a Youth Fetish

December 09, 1990

The head of the BBDO ad agency in the 1960s, John Brower, once put the ageist (and sexist) attitudes prevalent in the business back then in a nutshell: "Advertising is a young man's business."

Bruce Horovitz's column, "Highly Paid Ad Executives Over 40 Rank High on the Job-at-Risk Index" (Nov. 6), shows that this youth fetish is, with rare exceptions, as rampant as ever. But it's not just the big-ticket execs who are vulnerable.

All too often anyone with abilities honed by experience is axed in favor of those whose only qualifications are jejune exuberance. This mindless practice perhaps accounts for the glut of glitzy, trendy tripe passed off as advertising today.

A wise counterpoint to Brower's biased notion came a generation ago from a true advertising master, Hal (Doc) Stebbins, who wrote, "Advertising is a young mind's business."

ED MITCHELL

Los Angeles

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