What on earth does it mean?
The Experience thing I get. In the film De Niro is a 70-year old returning to work as an intern – no doubt with hilarious consequences. (I haven’t seen the film, I have no idea.) He has lots of experience. You could replace the E-word with Wisdom maybe, or Maturity – although the idea that Maturity never gets old sounds even weirder.
It’s the old bit I don’t get. What does it mean? Experience is never out of date – demonstrably wrong: my experience of using fax machines in the 1990s is pretty old hat these days. Experience never goes stale – ditto. Experience never ages – still meaningless. I have a feeling that the subtext here is: it’s OK to be old and still go to work – look old people have things to offer too! I have changed my mind three times in the last ten minutes trying to decide whether – if that is the message – it’s a patronising or a positive one. But it only works if the very notion of being old is undesirable – as if what they were really trying to say was Experience never has a senior moment and forgets where it put the scissors but they knew that just didn’t sound right.
“It’s only the poster for a Hollywood film” I hear you cry. “Lighten up.”
But a) in Hollywood terms I’m as old as the hills and extremely sensitive to implied ageism; and b) I’m a copywriter. Words matter. Also, because I’m a copywriter, I know that every syllable of every word on that poster has been carefully thought about and focus-grouped by a crack team of writers, publicists and designers – none of this stuff happens by accident, or because that was just the best they could come up with before the print deadline.
So, Experience never gets old means something to someone. But what?