we seem to have hi-jacked Neil's Post, sorry Neil. No, Suzy I fell ill a year or two into my stay at JWT. Although I did have a pretty successful run owner/ managing below-the-line agencies, subsequently sourcing and employing an array of talent: photographers, writers, technical illustrators and so on... the staffing levels gradually reducing as more and more technology came on board. The fact remains, good or bad, that most things can be and are carried out by one person and a box of tricks. I got out 10 years back, but have remained enthusiastic about new media, still pleased to have worked through the early days, and I'm pretty sure that dexterous skills, good concepts, communication etc still play a part. I doubt whether I could cope in a large concern today, especially en France... always fearful that a committee designed Donkey is a Camel... don't think that's changed. lol
I see what you say about the reticence to be original, in the 70s originality was crucial; when the Macs arrived it was in Vogue to produce work like everyone else's. I have noticed a marked new appreciation here for, let's say, design appreciation, which I find refreshing.