Mucho Dinero

Do you ever wonder why ad people show up for work everyday? Is it for the money? Or are we driven to make a contribution to the culture, however small?
This L.A. Times story looks at another industry, one we need not ask such philosophical questions of.

A report released Tuesday shows that Wall Street’s elite are making more money than ever, with the 25 highest-paid hedge-fund managers averaging $570 million in compensation last year. The top three pocketed more than $1 billion each.
In its annual survey of hedge-fund managers, investors magazine Alpha found that average compensation of the top 25 jumped 57% last year from 2005 and 127% from 2004.
Collectively, the 25 managers earned more than $14 billion. If you didn’t make at least $240 million last year, you didn’t make the list.

In the agency game, salaries can on occasion be stout, but there’s only one true path to wealth—you need to own the shop where you work.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. An ER nurse, Fireman working overtime, a Real Estate Agent…they all make more than a typical agency exec. Advertising is great at selling itself as selling this high-powered, high-salaried businesses, but it’s really small peanuts in the white collar world nowadays. Even you own your own shop, you’re just swimming in the shallow end in a place like NYC.
    Advertising has gone down, down, down in the compensation arena over the past 20 years. Most of it is at fault of the agencies themselves, which either took too long to evolve, or didn’t realize that by ‘figuring it all out’ they actually gave rise to others that take the tasks (and compensation) that was once theirs: CMO’s, Media agencies, etc – even today, the fractioning off continues – Online.
    Fortunately though, idea is still king and those who figure out how to sell talent at a premium( without cutting their value and selling out the industry in the process), are those who will thrive.
    So do we do it for the cultural input? I hope so. If we’re doing it for the money, we’re in trouble, because frankly, we’re not very good at it.

  2. By Jennifer Warner
    WebMD Medical News
    April 25, 2007 – Having a high IQ isn’t money in the bank, according to new research that shows smarter doesn’t necessarily mean richer.
    A nationwide study shows people of below average and average intelligence are just as wealthy as those in similar circumstances with higher IQs.
    In fact, researchers say the highly intelligent may be more prone to financial troubles.
    “People don’t become rich just because they are smart,” says researcher Jay Zagorsky, a research scientist at Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research, in a news release. “Your IQ has really no relationship to your wealth. And being very smart does not protect you from getting into financial difficulty.”