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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!



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3 Percent

…of all advertising Creative Directors are women.

It’s a shocking number to consider, especially when you know that women make upwards of 80 percent of all consumption choices.

So on 27 September 2012 the amazing Kat Gordon launched the inaugural 3 Percent Conference in San Francisco to explore why. Creative stars like Cindy Gallop, Susan Hoffman, Margaret Johnson, Nancy Hannon, Liz Paradise and a dazzling array of other creative women inspired us all. Check out Will Burn’s Forbes article on “Advertising’s Biggest Problem” and consider the diminishing effect 3 percent has on creative output. It’s big and it’s dark.

I was honored to be one of the speakers presenting: Global Women. Global Perspectives. Looking at the situation across six countries, I believe that the lack of women in creative is not a gender issue and framing it as such minimizes it. It is a business problem that needs solutions. Here are five key findings that my work highlights.

The Train has Left the Station. And it is loaded with far more young women – and they are not going away.

It’s time. Not titles. The future status will be time – and money, of course.

Take up Space. Women need to seen and heard on the big accounts destined to win awards – and on the judging panels that bestow those awards.

Respect and Rewards. Creative women work hard to do great work, and then work harder to prove themselves again, just because they are female – all the while being paid less.

Men Hire in Their Own Image. Intentional or unintentional – this is something the industry can no longer ignore.

So I say to creative women across the globe and the wise men who champion them: Clients value you. Consumers want you. Society needs you.


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6.5 Seconds

That’s the time you have to make a connection with consumers, according to draftfcb’s executive creative director, Beto Nahmad. Those 6.5 seconds are more then every defined by the digitally driven society 2.0. Digital changes everything and with consumers having increasing control of the mediated world, brands need to become friends with consumers. To do this advertising must feel like anything but advertising. It must make connections by being cleaver and compact –relevant and real. Yet, for as much as digital shapes us, advertisers must think digital rather than be digital because end the day we are all human and long for personal connections.

Beto and account director, Laura de Luque, presented a dozen blockbuster cases to my Global Brand Tracking class in Barcelona, last week. They walked us through their work for Tunisia Air’s “Seven Days/70 People” initiative, which just landed draftfcb a gold at El Sol. Congratulations! Next he introduced work for Gui Repsol. Both brands live in the tourism category, and everything draftfcb did from them feels authentic and true to their spirit – and nothing like advertising.

Beto also showed us seven cases from the spirits category featuring Rom Barelo, Tia Maria, Sailor Jerry and Siboney 34 and Hendricks. These were particularly interesting as in Spain alcohol cannot be advertised on television. In fact, none there is no advertising allowed in mass media whatsoever. The campaigns they developed for these brands leverage social media and promotional events in highly imaginative ways that garnered new audiences and secured a passion among existing audiences use techniques that surprised and engaged them.

Smint mints, River Plate and Action Against Hunger rounded out the presentations. Action Against Hunger was the agency’s 2011 commitment to the community. Raising awareness about hunger the agency partnered with Reebok as they helped citizens in rich countries burn calories to feed citizens in poor countries. The campaign was so successful the agency plans to move into South and Central America.

The agency harnesses the power of collaboration to generate ideas that push beyond traditional boundaries and into the world of imagination – building blockbuster brands along the way.


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