Category Archives: advertising agencies

Meet Me in Trondheim

Next Wednesday I’m speaking at the Centre for Gender Research, part of Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in Trondheim Norway.

Wish me lykke til.

PercentsMy presentation explores 5 years of Red Books (Standard Directory of Advertising Agencies) data regarding the gendered composition of advertising creative departments worldwide. Using data from 50 countries and regions, from 2012 through 2016, the study reveals embedded and systemic global gender segregation in advertising creative department. This work is framed by signaling, critical mass and creative system’s theories. It demonstrates pervasive and systemic horizontal and vertical gender segregation within advertising creative departments. Specifically, these data quantify the underrepresentation of women in advertising creative departments, demonstrating a global average of only 23.5% women working within advertising creative departments, and with only 16.1% women in creative management. I will also drill down on data from Scandinavian countries and include qualitative data from a recently published study on Swedish women working in advertising creative women. Trend analyses predict a modest increase in women creatives in advertising creative departments in the coming years – but, I’d say, the only way to go is up.

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Time’s Up Advertising

Today 180 women from advertising’s C-suites partnered with Time’s Up to form Time’s Up/Advertising. In their open letter to the industry they said, in part, “it’s on us to foster a workplace where people are challenged but still respected. Sexual harassment is not OK. Never. No exceptions. No amount of talent, missed cues, or being great in the room unchecks the No Sexual Harassment box.” Their mission:

“To drive new policies, practices, decisions and tangible actions that result in more balanced, diverse and accountable leadership; address workplace discrimination, harassment and abuse; and create equitable and safe cultures within our agencies.”

times Up List

Community meetings will be held May 14 in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in which all women in advertising are invited with three goals in mind:

ACTION:
Commit to creating solutions that work, starting with examining the processes and policies that have failed us.
ACTION:
Identify and mentor people representing diversity across the board and who are ready to become agency leaders.
ACTION:
Adoption of progressive agency training and education that brings this discussion and its solutions out into the open in our agencies.
It’s been a long time coming. Now let’s keep it going. #TIMESUPADVERTISING
Jean

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A Wake to Carry Others Forward

Today, Wendy Clark was promoted to DDB’s Global CEO. She’s the first woman to lead an Omnicom network. Clark said, “It’s not lost on me that I’m carrying a lot of people with me. It’s never about the impact that one person can make. It has to be about creating a wake around me that’s way bigger than just my success, and I will have every intention of doing that.”

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Knowing that the industry will be watching she added, “I want to use this position to create more opportunity for more women.”

Let’s hope.

Jean

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Advertising’s Little White Lie

While there’s little research on the lack of women in creative roles, there’s even less on diversity issues. The sad truth is, advertising employs less than five percent people of color and then, you’ll find them largely working in the multicultural agencies not the general market shops. I admit this is an educated guess, because the industry will not release diversity data. I’m working to change that. With a faculty fellowship from Marquette’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, I’ll be traveling to Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami, this spring, to conduct ethnographic research and interviews within multicultural ad agencies and general market agencies.

Why does any of this matter?

It matters to me as a human being who wants equity and the opportunity for all. We need all voices to be heard so that advertising messages don’t perpetuate racism and sexism. It also matters to me as a practitioner who understands that diversity is good for business. A diversity of voices leads to better creativity and stronger ROI.

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The lack of diversity in advertising is EXACTLY why Dove, today, made a major brand misstep. Showing Black women transformed into light Brown or White women is appalling. And why did it happen? I’ll bet my retirement account on the fact there were no people of color in the decision-making process nor were there any present as this went up the decision-making food chain. I also doubt there were not many women making decisions as it went up. Women and people of color are invisible in advertising management.

In short, the lack of diversity in advertising is not just bad for Black and Brown people and women, it’s bad for business. “Wake up advertising.”

 

 

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Celebrating Creative Women in MKE

At last creative women in Milwaukee are being given the recognition they deserve – even celebrated.

C2 is organizing The Happiest Hour, a casual networking event celebrating the current and future female leaders of Milwaukee’s marketing, design and advertising community. Thanks C2.

Come toast Milwaukee’s powerful, dynamic and progressive creative industry!

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When:  Thursday, August 24th, 4-7pm
Where:  Great Lakes Distillery, 616 W. Virginia Street

Organized by C2 – Presented by Great Lakes Distillery
Supported by United Adworkers, AIGA Wisconsin, Milwaukee Graphic Design/Adobe Users Group, Ad 2 Milwaukee, 414Digital, Hub+company

 

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Women’s Day in Ad-Land

An esteemed ad-land colleague posted this today on fb. Thank you, Dennis Jenders. Here’s to you and all the other ad-men willing to speak truth – and to all the ad-women living the truth.

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Happy #WomensDay. Unfortunately, I work in an industry where women too often experience harassment and discrimination.

More than half of women surveyed have experienced sexual harassment at least once. (Source: 4A’s)

A third of women surveyed said that they have failed to receive key assignments or promotions because of their gender on multiple occasions. (Source: 4A’s)

Women make 85% of all purchasing decisions, yet they are woefully underrepresented in creative jobs in advertising. (Source: Adweek)

In fact, just 11% of the world’s creative directors are female. (Source 3% Conference)

91% of female consumers feel advertisers don’t understand them. (Source: Creative Equals)

Maybe it’s because we still find 10% or more of creative departments that are SOLELY men.

How many meetings have you been in where someone makes an off-color remark but you haven’t spoken up? Or a woman is judged on her beauty instead of her intelligence?

I regret not speaking up at a previous place of employment when I found myself in a situation where the Chairman of the Board and CEO spoke crudely about women, feet away from a female secretary, and in the presence of an executive leader, and my boss.

At a previous agency, I found myself in a meeting where two male clients couldn’t help but comment on the physical appearance of two female team members – while they were in the room. I was shocked, and unfortunately said nothing to curb their behavior.

I’ll never let those moments pass me by again. Be the difference if you see harassment or discrimination taking place.

Take the tough meetings to discuss equality in wages and opportunity. Hire or promote based on potential instead of just achievement, as studies show that many women won’t apply for a role until they meet 100% of the hiring criteria.

To the women I’ve worked with, thank you for making me a better man. Your intelligence, empathy, thoughtfulness, creativity, and strength are an inspiration.

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Happy Labor Day

I always remember my father with fondness on this day because of his tenacious embrace of the labor movement.

As the American economy becomes more and more service based we may forget labor’s historical gravity. The first Labor Day celebration was on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, promoted by the Central Labor Union. The Union held its second Labor Day celebration the next year on September 5, 1883. Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday of September ever since. Its launch came at a time when America was moving into the industrial revolution and the conditions of workers were often difficult.

My dad, a WWII vet, frequently teased me about Rosie the Riveter and powerful women. I was young and didn’t understand how much her iconic image meant to him. I’m guessing that in some small (and not so small) ways I must have reminded him of the power she signified. Doing a little research on her image this morning, I learned a few things I didn’t know before.

There were two iconic Rosies.

Rosie Riveter norman rockwellThe first Rosie – the one most of us remember – was painted by J. Howard Miller. He was commissioned by Westinghouse to make a series of posters promoting the war effort. Miller inspired the Saturday Evening Post, whose covers tended toward civic inspiration. With WWII raging the Post hired Norman Rockwell. Rockwell’s Rosie appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post (May 29, 1943). It was the Memorial Day issue. She’s muscular and dressed for a hard day’s work, just like the Rosie most of us might recall. We also know she’s Rosie because of the name inscribed on her lunch pail. However, what might surprise many of you, as it did me, this Rosie is stepping on a copy of Adolph Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. Now this is serious symbolic propaganda.

We_Can_Do_It! J. Howard MillerOn the heels of Post’s highly successful cover, stories about real life Rosies began appearing in newspapers across America. The U.S. government took advantage of Rosie’s popularity and embarked on a recruiting campaign named after her. The campaign, done by J. Walter Thompson under the auspices of the Advertising Council, used J. Howard Miller’s Rosie. The campaign brought millions of women into the workforce. To this day, Rosie the Riveter is considered one of the most successful government advertising campaign in history. On May 25, 2012 the Ad Council threw a 70th Birthday Bash for Rosie, noting that Rosie the Riveter remains an enduring emblem of empowerment for women everywhere.

Dad, thanks for teaching me the value of a hard day’s work. I miss you.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Jean

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