Dear Clients. I can make you a lot of money. Just watch.

Guest Post by: Kelly Rasmussen, Aspiring Art DirectorRasmussen

Money. You want to make more of it.

I know how.

I have your attention, and maybe you are a bit skeptical, but here’s how you, the client, can reach your target better, sell more, and overall improve your brand image…


Don’t believe me? Let’s break it down. Women make up roughly 80-85% of consumers. Women in Advertising Creative, they only make up 20%.

So, who is coming up with the ‘award winning ad campaigns’ that will appeal to women?

Men. Now I’m an advertising major, and not too great at science, but I’m pretty sure the people who know women and their buying habits the best, are other women. You may argue that focus groups provide insight into the mind of women, but you have no idea what you are dealing with. Women are complicated.

Forbes recently reported that “Women are the world’s most powerful consumers, and their impact on the economy is growing every year. The global incomes of women are predicted to reach a staggering $18 trillion by 2018, according to global professional services firm EY.”

In fact, the entire article is a gold mine about female consumers, and you should definitely read it after you read this…

Women are the influencers and decision makers for our economy. Shouldn’t they also be the influencers and decision makers on your accounts? And not just on the accounts, but in the leadership roles?

Older professionals in the advertising industry have repeatedly told me, if you want more women in the creative industry, pitch it to the client as a smart business strategy.

Make sure they understand that it would be a good business move to have women working on accounts to sell to other women. Why?

Well for one thing, women selling to other women is a good business strategy.

A first hand look at the female mind. For example, women are funny. So why aren’t there more ads appealing to women’s sense of humor?

Sadly, we are afraid to say something to our boss or to you, the client, because we think just doing good work and showing up is enough to get put on the big accounts.

So clients, I can make you money. A lot of money. But first, the request has to come from you.

Ask for more creative women on your account.

Why would you trust a team of men to talk to stay at home mothers? You know what they produce? Culturally ambiguous actors that show and tell about cleaning and cooking products.

Women know what cleaning products are. We get it. Instead, why don’t you talk about how the bottle will actually last longer and has an easy to spray spout that never clogs?  Or maybe, instead of selling us the science behind the bottle you could put a man in the commercial instead (GASP!). Show THEM how easy it is to clean the kitchen.

Women will still buy a product, even if a woman isn’t in the commercial.

So clients, now that you know how to make more money, will you make the change? It doesn’t have to be drastic, because history would reveal men aren’t bad at selling to women and I don’t want an exclusive team of women working on female products either… but let’s start with hiring more women creative directors to lead a team of men.

Let hire inspiring creative women who will encourage others how to think more like a woman. Once you do that, you might not even have to conduct a single focus group ever again.

And that would make everyone very happy.


Staring at My Shoes

Guest Post by: Gabby Kailas

I blinked. There I was in my creative director’s office, staring at my shoesKailas

patiently, awkwardly. This had become the norm for him and I. I bring him the new version of a project and then I wait. I wait for him to review it and give it back to me because he didn’t want to take the time to return in to my desk. So, there I stood, staring at my shoes, for months.

My female coworker asked one day, “Why do you just stand in there?” My response was, “He asked me to do it one day and I just really want him to like me.”

It took me 8 months at my current job to fully realize what I was doing. The last three weeks of that I was in Dr. Grow’s class. I realized I had succumbed to the male leader like a lost puppy, but I was no lost puppy.

In my short time in Dr. Grow’s class, I had become aware that women in creative are knights going into battle by themselves. They live in a man’s world full of beer and locker room talk. This traditional view of a creative department in the advertising world is somehow unable to be shaken.

Sheryl Sandberg provides a fascinating perspective on the overall business world. It was not about becoming one of the boys or acting like her mom, it was leaning in and being herself. Sheryl Sandberg was herself and people respected and appreciated her for it. She even said that her “desire to be liked by everyone” would hold her back.

So, there I was again, staring at my shoes in my creative director’s office. I then saw my shoes walk out back towards my desk. I heard him yell, “Hey, I thought you were gonna wait?” I looked back to him, shrugged my shoulders and said, “I got shit to do.” He laughed then said, “That’s cool, I’ll bring them back when I’m done.”

It was from then on that him and I established a new norm. I was just as busy as he was and he respected that. If there was anything to take away from my first job in an agency, it would be to trust who I am as a person.

Sheryl Sandberg did say it best, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Gender in Advertising

Guest Post by: Megan Goerth

Gender in Advertising or Advertising to Gender…A few months ago I would have looked at the arrangement of those words and thought nothing of it, as if they were equal. Let’s just say a lot can be learned in a short period of time. I now look at the words with confusion, angst, hope, and multiple other adjectives. The first thing that pops into my head is gender in advertising. Three percent of creative directors are women; whereas women make eighty five percent of consumption decisions. Learning about these shocking stats along with other important information about women in creative has been an eye opening experience. The veil of ignorance has been lifted. I have finally been exposed to the bitter realities creative women face every day. I have become aware of the gender disparities in advertising creative and I am hopeful that my generation will be able to make a significant change to the number of creative women leaders.

GoerthAlthough, I have learned about the hardships that come with “being a woman in a man’s world”, I still believe that becoming a female creative director is highly attainable. Will it be easy and effortless, absolutely not? Male or female; no matter who you are, you will experience struggle, sacrifice, failure, triumph and many other things while on the way to the top. Males may have an easier time getting there, but at the end of the day it’s what you make of it. No one ever said that getting to the top would be easy, male or female, so why not just take the challenge? Being a woman, who wants to make it to the top, I have two choices:

  1. Wallow in the unfairness that only 3% of creative directors are women and give up on my hopes and dreams.
  2. Take the information I have learned and use it to my advantage.

I choose number 2! In order to make a difference and change the way things work, one must be aware of the change that needs to be made. Everything I have learned has only made me more eager to accept the challenge that comes with being a female creative. I could not be more excited to confront the gender disparities head on.

Gender in Advertising: We’re the Boys’ Club. Who Are You?

Guest Post by: Liz Roberts

It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in advertising creative departments. There are many books, articles and studies providing advice for women trying to make it in creative. However, these sources all tell women something different. Be feminine. Be masculine. Be quiet. Stand out. And even with all this contradictory advice, the system is still against women. Negative stereotypes about motherhood, female humor and other feminine qualities abound.

Part of the problem is that women are seen in terms of narrow concepts by both men and other women, rather than as whole, complex people. A woman is more than a mother, a sister, a coworker, a friend. She may be brilliantly creative; she may not be. She may be extremely dedicated to her job or her family or both. She may manage her time efficiently or she may not, and that might just depend on the day.

RobertsMost of the advice given to women by writers and industry professionals can, or should, be summed up with two simple words (albeit cliché): be yourself. In her book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg shared the idea that “feminism wasn’t supposed to make us feel guilty, or prod us into constant competitions over who is raising children better, organizing more cooperative marriages, or getting less sleep. It was supposed to make us free.” Equality in the workplace and in society in general means having the freedom to live as a whole person without fear.

When women are empowered to be their whole selves, they make better employees. They are not confined to stereotypically feminine behaviors, but they do not have to conform to the “boys’ club” either. Their ideas are fresh and original. They hold themselves and others accountable. They are confident.

Better employees mean better business.

Advertising creative departments have a long way to go, but there is hope. As more women break into senior level positions, women just entering into creative will be able to see how strength, emotion, intelligence, cooperation and other characteristics come together in one outstanding female leader. Then, hopefully, they will be able to assert their true selves and, in turn, provide the unique insights needed to make great ads.

More women in creative means better advertising.

Gender in Advertising

Guest Post by: Jessica Ayala

When I first processed what this course was going to consist of, I was hesitant to take it. I felt scared about what I would be learning, as it applies to something that I identify with and embrace each day: being a woman. I chose to go with my gut and I’m happy I did. “Gender in Advertising” is a sensitive topic because it targets the misconceptions and ignorance that has become so prominent in the creative industry and society. But these are the kinds of courses in which I learn so much and feel better prepared about the path I’m on.


The first topic that hit me the most is Nina DiSesa’s book “Seducing the Boys Club.” DiSesa is BOLD. She suggests that women should act more like men because men feel comfortable with their own kind, and the more someone reminds a man of himself, the more comfortable he is. This is the way women can achieve “success.” I still struggle with her suggestion on seducing men without sex and manipulating them without malice. The language she used stirred up mixed emotions in me and I ended up counteracting her argument. Seducing your male coworkers is not the way to “make it” in the creative industry. In fact, many creative women never even considered that tactic and managed to be successful just by being themselves. As women, we should never be someone we are simply not. Everyone is wired for success. Possessing gender-specific qualities should not determine that.

I love Sheryl Sandburg. She brought a more positive and attractive light to gender in advertising. How? By being realistic, hopeful, and hard-working. She recognizes how hard it is to manage a career and motherhood, she thanks the past activists who battled for women’s rights, she points out that men still run the world, she learned to be vocal about what she deserves, and she argues that internal obstacles are what hold women back. Sandburg gave me hope, as she also shares advice about developing professional relationships and asking for raises. She uses her vulnerability to support the fact that anyone can do it: women can and deserve to sit at the table. I love that phrasing. Again, everyone is wired for success, and your dream job, whether it’s being a stay-at-home mom or a working professional, can get you there as long as you lean in…all the way.

When Objectivity Meets its Match

Guest Post by: Meghan Hickey, Student and Brand Story Enthusiast

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 1.05.42 PM

“News should be objective.” We’ve all heard it, and we’ve all laughed and flipped to our favorite news channel that spins the story in the way that we want to hear. Whether you choose FOX, MSNBC, CNN, or ABC, you’re making either the conscious or unconscious decision to hear your news in a certain way. And that’s okay.

The fact is that, yes, media provides fact, but it also provides the framework to understand the facts provided. Ethicists believe that media’s primary function is to provide citizens with information that will allow them to make informed political choices. Objectivity is the obvious means to do so, but does there come a time when objectivity is simply too much for the average public to handle?

Maybe, the late, James Foley would have had a say in that.

In light of the current conflict in the Middle East involving the oppression of Christians by ISIS and much more, raw footage of beheadings, mass shootings, and other gruesome events have made their way to American media in big ways. And when I say gruesome, I don’t mean your average cartoon blood spout. These images create awareness of the severity of the massacres happening oversees – but do they also serve another, less heroic purpose?

Terrorism is an act of communication. Yet, it’s a form of communication that cannot function on its own. Media and terrorism act as catalysts for each other, the media needing stories to report news, and terrorism needing media to report its stories. The stories showing ISIS murdering and torturing endless amounts of people aren’t just stating objective facts – they’re creating a way for ISIS to be heard, and showing their leaders that if they continue to act as they are, they WILL be noticed. It is up to the media to break that cycle of communication by changing the way in which they communicate.

And that is where I believe objectivity meets its match – with humanity.

We’re all humans. It’s what has helped us remain the superior form of life for as long as we have. However, when we allow objectivity and the cruelty and fear that can come with it to break down our humanity, we risk losing the one thing that binds each and every one of us together.

With humanity, we take on the role of moral witness. We take on the responsibility to report stories in a way that, yes, uses a frame to bring people together in defense of humanity, instead of against it. It is when we are able to recognize the need to set objectivity aside, and report in the name of humanity, that great stories and honorable reporters are able to break the cycle that terrorism relies on, and truly report news as it should be – truthful, just, and humane.

Terrorism and the Media: Adding Fuel to Fire

Guest Post by: Julia Markun, Student

Terrorism by definition is “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims” (Oxford Dictionary). The word itself even evokes pain, suffering and fear. In the United States, images of the September 11 attacks fill our heads, or our thoughts might jump to more recent coverage on groups such as ISIS. And suddenly, without as much as a second thought, we become pawns in their game. We’re intimidated, vulnerable and willing to give whatever it takes to just stay alive. Why is this? Think about everything you see in the media.

D Markun

Source: Alex Wilhelm, The Next Web

The media give terrorist groups exactly what they want: attention. It’s how they thrive. It’s the fuel to the fire terrorists start. If their violent acts weren’t publicized, they would have no way to intimidate us. Similar to the way a small child might act, these groups go out of their way to make a scene, create attention and scare enough people to eventually get what they want. So why can’t we treat them like a toddler and ignore the tantrums? Because this also happens to be information that affects millions of lives and is our right to know.

One of the many roles and expectations of the media is to truthfully inform us of what’s happening in the world, especially when it impacts lives. But what is more important: our need for information or decreasing the power of terrorism? Which is more ethical?

Not only is the publication of terrorist acts validating their efforts and potentially provoking more, but the content is also questionable in itself. Is it ethically sound to broadcast a human being’s death or even the distress and humiliation of a prisoner? Should terrorist propaganda and recruiting videos be shared to influence even more people?

There are so many factors at play that finding a definitive “right” or “wrong” is impossible. On one side, it is unethical for the media to withhold information from the public. However, it is also ethically unsound to exploit acts of terrorism for the sake of something such as ratings. Media outlets need to find a balance between giving us what we need and giving the terrorists what they want.

However, as much as it might be right to censor some news, I believe informing the public of the whole truth will never go out of style. Not only do we expect nothing less of our press, but also they rely on us to keep them going. Headlines about terrorism catch our eye and it’s difficult to ignore an extremist group’s YouTube video when it’s playing on your daily news show. I believe media are now less gatekeepers and more in a race to open the gate first, and with our increasing technology and instantaneous access to everything around the world, I don’t think that is going to change any time soon.