I love that quote; it's flattering to us ad types, isn't it?

But recently I've been wondering whether it has an unwanted flip-side.

I know a ton of advertising creatives, and I agree with Banksy that the vast majority of us are bright, creative and ambitious. And that's good.

But are we too much of a type? Are we failing to attract the "slow and self-obsessed" who could make a valuable contribution, but are put off by... something?

There's quite a lot going on in Banksy's quote, but I guess part of it is about people who think quick and shallow versus people who think deep and slow.

We mostly get the former. An advertising agency is a tyranny of quick-wittedness. Nearly all the people at the top are the quick-witted type. But do they sometimes get there at the expense of others who might be better than them, but just have a different personality? 

I suspect Banksy is also making an observation about a personality difference that is horribly over-simplified, but which at least has the advantage of being well-known and easily understandable: introverts and extroverts.

You'd have to agree that the vast majority of people in advertising are extroverts.

Our industry prizes those who are energetic, articulate, confident, and sociable. And I'm not just talking about Account Handlers, but Creatives too. Especially if you're to reach CD level, you nowadays simply have to be energetic, articulate, confident etc.

I worry this is a problem. We might be discarding, or at least failing to properly promote, some fantastically talented Creatives just because they don't slap people on the back, or crack jokes.

There's a best-selling book by Susan Cain called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, which makes the point that most modern institutions are geared toward extroversion, which means introverts are underrated, under-used and even demonised.

And nowhere is the issue more acute - I'd guess - than in ad agencies.

So come on, introverts, let's hear from you. Anonymously, obviously. Do you find it difficult, being an introvert in advertising? Do you think extroverts have an unfair advantage? And do you ever take your headphones off?


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