|The Diversity Committee will see you now|
In addition, I believe history teaches us a lot. In the same way following world history makes us better citizens, following advertising history makes us better at what we do.
What we do is sell. And modern times are the best times to be doing just that. The last great upheaval in advertising was driven by television, but it only happened once. Digital technology drives new upheavals all the time. It’s happening so fast that few can keep up with it or understand it. Major CPG companies struggle; former Mad Men seem to understand. But as Matt Nelson of Tribal DDB put it, now is the golden era for advertising.
In a similar reflection, Duff Stewart of GSD&M said “a successful leader in advertising… today is defined by curiosity.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. (Well – I tried, here and here.) With such a menu of challenges and buffet of media options, more than ever we can say “it’s all advertising” and get to the task of selling in new ways. We have much to learn.
One thing Mad Men can teach us is how little progress we’ve made on diversity. There’s more diversity among media options than the employees who practice them. It’s the best time to be in advertising – but it could be better.