This past Monday, Enda McCarthy, COO of Publicis London, wrote a post on entitled “Why the Advertising Industry is About to Skip a Generation.” He posits that 30-somethings within the ad ranks are, to paraphrase, royally hosed. Mainly because “the 20-somethings who have grown up as natives of today’s joined up world, [are] not beholden to the muscle memories of siloed agencies and disciplines.”

In other words, the kids are hip to the social media/mobile/all-interaction-all-the-time juju and poor wretches aged 30-39 are not. And we are about to get our vintage Bugle Boys handed to us by the kids who won’t stay off our lawn. As someone who turns 40 in September, I find this all a bit silly.

McCarthy contends that, while there are “as many bright 30-somethings as there have ever been,” the fact that they came of age in the industry during an era of turf wars and consolidation has left them unable to fend off the whippersnappers who were weaned on connectivity and Web 2.0. Because, in his words, “advertising has shifted from being an opinion led business to a business where knowledge is applied.”

Setting aside the odd idea that you can toss an entire subsection of our industry out on the street simply due to a demographic stat, most of these assertions still don’t hold up.

The Millennials weren’t the first generation to be raised online – the 30-somethings were. As a 39-year-old, I can testify that I used my first computer at age 8, grew up fiddling with assorted Apples and Amigas, had an email address (that I used) before I was 18, and had my own personal website before 98% of corporate America had caught on. And I am not an anomaly. Nor did I stop my accumulation of tech knowledge – and how it relates to marketing – when I hit the big 3-0. I speak Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. rather fluently, thank you very much. 

More importantly, I and others of my ilk actually possess the type of knowledge that McCarthy says now needs to be applied. Youth is awesome. It can bring a fresh perspective. It can raise everyone’s level of enthusiasm. I’ll admit that a 24-year-old without kids is going to find the latest band, newest craze or whatever a few days faster than me. But that’s why I follow them on Twitter. But after 18 years in this business, I’ll put my gut instinct up against theirs any day of the week. I’ve worked with brands and agencies that got it, and those that didn’t. I’ve been mentored and been a mentor. Frankly, I’m faster, more strategic and every bit as hungry to win, too.

And this bit about “muscle memory” and “siloed disciplines”? Almost every peer I know hates that style of work. We don’t like the politics. We hate the preening and posturing and sitting around in meeting upon meeting discussing minutiae instead of actually producing something. Many of us have survived multiple agencies, several layoffs and having to fend for ourselves as freelancers for more than just a few months. And we sure didn’t do it by ascribing to the “old-think” of our progenitors. Even if McCarthy believes those progenitors are now going to start encouraging the type of behavior in 20-somethings that they spent the past decade squashing in us.

Then there’s this paragraph trumpeting the wonders of the Millennials:

They are unafraid to share what they know, happy to try new things knowing they might fail, and simply unable to accept that there can only be one correct answer, or one absolute way of working.

It’s a lovely thought, but one that cannot be applied exclusively to the young. No, it is an apt description for every great ad man or woman who has ever left – or seeks to leave – his or her mark on this industry. Age be damned. And anyone or any agency who writes off someone based on their birth certificate does so at their own peril.

Fossilized at 30, 36 or 39? I don’t think so. But what do I know. After all, I’m just a beard.