Women in Advertising, by @jcxh
By Jacqueline Hedge
When I was young, and before I was placed in an all girls school, I was one of the boys. I didn’t identify with what I was told a girl should be like, so I decided to run around with the boys and get bloody knees and dig worms out of the garden.
When I started watching TV and reading, however, I finally did find some girls I wanted to hang out with.
I wanted to be the pink Power Ranger.
I wanted to be Princess Leah and lead the rebels.
I wanted to be Xena the warrior princess.
I wanted to be Hermione, or Ginny Weasley.
I wanted to be Buffy.
Basically, I wanted to be able to kick ass and have super cool adventures.
The problem that I faced as I turned to the professional world, was that most of the people I wanted to be like were men…
Dave Trott gave the class plenty of food for thought in his talk last week. A lot of it was contradictory. All of it was a challenge to stand up and fight.
It was this general undertone that made me take what he said about women to be a provocation to prove him wrong. He said that women didn’t really belong in creative. They were more suited to accounts and planning. Of course it was a CTA for bullshit.
Nonetheless, it’s been bothering me that all the advertising legends that we are told about are all men. Granted, we now have Laura Jordan Bambach, Ann Wixley and Alexandra Taylor as examples. But it feels like there is a cut off when it comes to the ‘Golden Age’ of advertising.
So I decided to do some research.
Paula Green wrote the famed Avis ad.
Jane Maas wrote the I <3 NY campaign.
Caroline Jones was Vice President at BBDO and the first female creative director at JWT in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
Mary Wells Lawrence was the youngest copywriter to be introduced into the CopyWriting Hall of Fame and a founding member of Wells Rich and Greene, which was renowned for its innovative work.
All these women are from the ‘Golden Age’ of advertising, and they are just a small handful of the many that worked in the creative departments.
They did not ‘follow the crowd’.
They were not ‘afraid to stand out’.
They wanted to do something, and they did it. Like everyone else was doing.
They had to suffer the stereotype that Dave Trott was trying to throw at us far more than this current generation will.
Powerful female role models in advertising are not a modern event. They have been there from the start, and, as Trott said, they are proof that in advertising, all that matters in the end is the work