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December 3, 2011
The Journey to Old (Part 2): Brand Your Age
 
I bet you are reading this because the word BRAND is in the headline. Until recently, it seemed that marketing was all about getting up to speed with social media; now branding is the new word of the week. There’s plenty of great information and advice — especially here on Talent Zoo! — about how to brand yourself, why you should brand yourself, and what to expect from branding. My current challenge is much smaller and more personal.

In the process of writing a short bio for an “About Me” section of a blog I got stuck when it came to the best euphemism for “OLD.” Up until now I’ve been describing myself as “a Very Old Advertising Person.” My daughter told me I am no longer permitted to use that since I got all the laughs — or snickers — I’m likely to get from that self-deprecating joke and now it’s time to move on. What follows are some of the options I came up with after checking my thesaurus:

EXPERIENCED
My brother the accountant who works as a Rent-a-CFO uses this word to describe himself. He’s a few years younger than I am but also not-young. The problem is that I don’t believe it’s descriptive enough for our industry. I could be “experienced” after one year of agency work. I suspect I would need to add more descriptive terms such as “extensive” or “diverse” to get any mileage from it.

SEASONED
Such a pretty word, yet so…wishy-washy. The image is that of someone who has been around long enough, thank you very much, and is just waiting to collect Social Security. I’m also picturing grey hair, and I pay too much to the L’Oreal company every year to put up with that.

VETERAN
This word was suggested by one of our writers and I think it is extremely applicable. It evokes scenes of fighting in the trenches, bombing the enemy, and the general chaos and messiness of war…which sounds exactly like every ad agency I ever worked for — including my own! I do worry about insulting real military veterans, however.

ACCOMPLISHED
I’ve never heard anyone describe a marketing or advertising professional as “accomplished”, have you? It sounds like a word used more often for pianists or orchestra conductors. Yet it does describe a person who has achieved a certain level of expertise. 

MAVEN
I love this ethnocentric word mostly because it originated in my own ethnicity. But outside of 3% of the population and perhaps some urban areas will anyone understand it? Is this a word used in Alabama or Utah?

CONSUMMATE
Am I the only one thinking “soup”?

Good words? Bad words? Got better words? I would appreciate any and all feedback in particular from Very Young Advertising People. It’s not that I’m trying to hide being old. (Good luck with that!) I am merely trying to find words that show I’ve done something useful on my way there.

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Rhonda Wenner is a Very Old Advertising Person who has been there, done that, and seen quite a bit.
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