Jean Grow

I am a teacher, a learner, an explorer of cultural. Naturally curious and having spent too long in advertising, which was not too long at all, academia seemed like the perfect place to share my wisdom – to decompress. But academia is no place for decompression. I soon found myself immersed in existential angst wondering why was I teaching the very thing I had longed to escape.

Jean Grow

Thus began my deep dive into how brands live in culture, why people consume them, and how consumption alters culture. I talk a lot about this on my Grow Cultural Geography blog. Underlying all of this was a fundamental curiosity about why the people who create advertising are mostly men. Why on earth if women make most of the consumption decisions, which they do (a whooping 85 percent worth), are there so few of them in advertising creative? This thorny and not so little problem has a lot of negative implications for marketers, whom to my surprise are not making much noise about it. It also has significant implications for my students, the lion’s share of whom are women. So, I embarked upon my quest to shake the trees and make some noise.

As a teacher part of what I get paid to do is share my wisdom. In academia we call that research. Most of what I do in that department relates to traversing the globe in pursuit of answers to why there are so few women in advertising creative. Then, together with an industry colleague, Tom Altstiel, I penned a book on Advertising Creative. It’s not a crusty academic text. It’s a real-world, blood, sweat and tears kind of books. And because I am prefer to shake the trees we talk about ethical issues and write frankly about what it takes to make it in advertising. It’s not all pretty. But it is wise.

I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and my B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently, I’m an Associate Professor and Director of the University Fine Arts Program at Marquette University in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I spend my summers exploring culture, often teaching a Global Brand Tracking class. In 2010 we were in London and Prague, while 2012 it was London and Barcelona. In 2014 I plan to return to London and Prague. And, I was honored with the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2007.

Prior to joining the academy, I was an advertising artists’ representative. My branded clients included Coca Cola and Kellogg’s and my agency clients included DDB, draftfcb, and Leo Burnett. Today, I continue to consult and have worked with Nike and the National Hemophilia Foundation, among others.

If you’d like to know more about me or my work just shoot me an email at If you’d like to see an overview of my CV, read on.

Enjoy the blog!




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