Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post examines the changes to our industry over the past twenty years.
Gone are the days when gray-suited admen would commute to Grand Central Terminal from the Connecticut suburbs, walk the few blocks to Madison Avenue, spend the day concocting clever, feel-good ads, collect 15 percent commissions for placing them with the three TV networks and glossy magazines, and schmooze clients over three-martini lunches.
Today, the center of gravity has moved downtown to SoHo and TriBeCa, and much of the work is done by twentysomethings in jeans and T-shirts. They earn less and work harder to peddle niche products through a fragmented media market to savvy consumers who tune out messages they find boring or irrelevant. The cushy commissions have been replaced by stingier, cost-plus-fee schedules imposed by numbers-driven corporate marketing officers who care less about the creativity of advertising than its return on investment.
I don’t know about you, but I never signed up for either of these make-believe worlds.