What Else Is Broken?

Why the advertising industry can't seem to attract the intellectual and human capital it once did has been the subject of countless articles by industry pundits and a topic of discussion on quite a few conference panels.  Lots point to the breakdown of the broadcast model and fragmentation of audiences.  A few call out the notion of risk vs. reward, saying that it's easier for smart people to make more money with comparatively less effort in other fields. I'd like to throw something else out there.  How about adequate reward for one's ideas?

Advertising is about as far from a meritocracy as you can get in the information age.  New entrants into the field are rarely rewarded for creative thinking.  Rather, they're rewarded for their ability to play politics and for who they know, rather than what they know.

Considering creative thinking is what this industry needs (and claims up and down to need, BTW), it's easy to see how someone taking an internship or accepting an entry-level position could get fed up with the whole industry in 6-12 months.  Advertising promises to reward people for ideas, then turns around and rewards the exact opposite - the people who can destroy an idea by sanitizing it for a client so that there's no risk involved.  We too frequently praise the guy who cultivates the nincompoop forest. How can we expect talented and smart people to want to work in advertising when all they see is backstabbing political bullshit and the wrong people earning all the rewards?  Think about it.