Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ageism in Advertising: How One Man Beat the Odds - ADAGE

by Juddann Pollack 
Originally published: March 22, 2016

After Two Years of Job Hunting, Creative Lands at Ferrara & Co.

It's a Monday in March, and Dave Shea has just returned from vacation in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It's an unusually temperate afternoon in leafy Princeton, N.J., where he's rested, relaxed and settled into his ad agency office.

What a difference a few years make.

Before landing a job at Ferrara & Co. in January 2013, Mr. Shea had spent more than two years scouring for ad agency work after being laid off from his copywriting post at a youth-marketing agency. Despite a resume listing top-tier shops like Saatchi & Saatchi and McCann Erickson, and a book bursting with familiar campaigns, his relentless networking, knocking on doors and hounding recruiters was for naught. The issue: He was over 55.

"There was a recession and the reality was I had a lot of experience in children's marketing, my portfolio was kids-centric," said the 61-year-old Mr. Shea, whose work includes a lot of animation, including the Trix Rabbit and Lucky the Leprechaun. "But it was really the gray hair that was working against me."

Ad Age featured Mr. Shea in a cover story on ageism in advertising in January 2012. He initially had reservations about the piece. "You don't want to advertise how old you are," he said. "The industry is focused on the young. It was a little scary putting myself out there."

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