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Who's Afraid of Standards?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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In our school, semester classes have ended. That means one thing: final exams.


Yes, the time has now arrived to prove that you know what you are supposed to know. It is during that time we all see that not all students are created equal.

And that's okay.

Of course, we looked at how we can apply this to advertising. When exams come, students must prove that they have achieved a certain level of understanding. They must be able to comprehend the material.

In AdLand, there are very few measures that can be used that show how well advertising professionals know what they know.

Obviously, one can look at academic backgrounds. But like a toolshed, a university has sharp tools and dull ones.

One could point to the free market as a standard; let the free market decide who knows what they are doing, and who doesn't. Those who know get business, and those who don't, won't. 

Well, there is plenty of evidence out there that would show that the free market has not been entirely, or even mostly, accurate.

Establishing standards is not a new recommendation from us. A while back, we entreated the 4A's and the ANA to create a system like PRSA's APR program, but updated.

So much for our influence.

Our industry changes quickly. And the MBAs, Ph.Ds, and other terminal degrees will only prepare you for so much. Don't get us wrong; we think probably more should have gone to school in the field, rather than falling into it.

Standards are needed in order to measure growth and success and to plan for the future. Though AdLand is growing fast, we can take the pulse of what's working and what's not.

Because in advertising, not all professionals are created equal.

But, is it okay?

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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