The “De-Skilling” Of The Ad Industry Isn’t Just Happening In America

I tend to view the advertising industry through an American lens. But over at The Guardian’s Advertising hub blog, Shuan Varga, Chairman and Creative Director of Ingenuity, talks about some problems the UK ad industry is facing in light of budget cutbacks. His arguments sound awfully familiar, except he calls the dismissal of experienced ad execs a “de-skilling”:

From the agency point of view, this experience deficit makes the entire industry vulnerable. Agencies used to claim routinely to be “custodians of the Brand”. I wonder how many of them can plausibly say that any more. Nowadays, while you might still find an agency that’s worked on a brand for a decade or more, if the most senior person on the account team graduated six years ago and has worked on the account for two, that doesn’t sound much like genuine custodianship to me.

Like many folks on this side of the pond, Varga points to cost-cutting and industry consolidation as the major culprits in the “de-skilling.” Downward pricing pressure has affected all businesses, worldwide. Clients force the ad industry to cut costs. And when the ad industry has to cut costs, we apply that to our vendors (Photographers, printers, freelance creatives). And so on it goes. Is anyone (or anything) going to finally make this come to a halt?



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.