AD Club Leaders: The ‘Fem-Powerment’ Movement

“Fem-powerment” campaigns, such as “Like a Girl” by Always, Dove’s “Real Beauty” and Verizon’s “Inspire Her Mind,” are bringing to the surface a heated debate about the authenticity of advertising and these ads are radically tackling sexism. Here’s what AD Club Leader, Kerstin Recker, Vice President, Marketing at NTENT had to say on the issue:

Kerstin

1.     Why do you think this message of female empowerment going viral right now?

It’s a combination of factors:

The digital age (blogs, social media networks, UGC video platforms) has served as a catalyst, creating new opportunities for women to share their voices and join forces, in real-time at scale. The many thoughts, ideas and opinions that make up the feminist movement are no longer beholden to how big media defines them. Women are leveraging digital channels to drive change, unite people and spur movement. (e.g. Facebook being forced to address gender-based hate speech/groups on their platform, crowdsourced map tracking incidents of sexual violence in Syria spearheaded by Women Under Siege, Disney withdrawing their shirts for young girls that said “I need a hero” after people united under #notbuyingit and filing a petition on Change.org)

Shifting roles: While we, women, still have a ways to go to close the gender gap in the workplace, the reality is there are more women today earning master’s degrees, entering the workforce and achieving senior level positions.

As women’s roles both in the workforce and at home shift, so is our spending power. Women are slated to hold over 2/3 of the nation’s spending power by 2030.

Brands are not ignorant to any of these facts. If they want to reach women, or better yet, our pockets, they have to lead with empowerment and engage women in a conversation that is on par with where women are today. The alternative is to risk having the whistle blown on them, e.g.Ultraviolet being forced to drop Rick Ross after outrage from the female community.

2.       What are some cultural, societal and industry factors that are spurring this trend?

The role, spending power and professional position of women is evolving, and there are many driving forces for this. Here are a few facts that have implications culturally and industrially:

  • Women control 85% of household purchasing decisions, representing a $7 trillion market
  • By 2030, women are predicted to control 2/3 of the nation’s wealth
  • 60% of all master’s degrees are earned by women
  • 52% hold all professional level jobs
But despite these trends, we have a long way to go:
  • Women only make up 12.3 % of U.S corporate board seats (consistent for the last decade)
  • Only 9% of top management positions are held by women
  • Less than 3% of Creative Director positions are held by women
There has certainly been a shift over the last 15 months in advertisements that highlight female empowerment from professional achievements to beauty, including big brands (Dove’s Real Beauty SketchesCadillac’s “Stacy’s Mom”) and start ups (Goldiebox), Always, “#LikeAGirl”. However, the feminist perspective is still not at the forefront. Change takes time, but as a collective group, that change can occur at a more rapid rate with the use of digital platforms and women continuing to choose to “lean in.”

3.       Are these ads helpful or harmful to the feminism cause? Why? Do you think these ads are tackling sexism, using advertising as a medium for change?

The ads promoting female empowerment are helpful. Advertisements have the ability not only to influence purchase decisions and stimulate business, but to influence culture, human understanding, perceptions, awareness and movement over time, and start a conversation.

As more advertisements amplify female empowerment and put a spotlight on issues and challenges, combined with the upward pressure of the collective female community, the greater the opportunity for change.

Two campaigns that did an excellent job of putting forward female issues are: Pantene and UN Women print campaign.

4.       Do women finally have the edge as consumers and corporations are taking notice for profit? Or is it something else? 

Yes, the purchasing power of women is increasing, and yes, some corporations are taking note of that. But, it’s a combination of factors as mentioned in question 1.

Don’t Miss the Stars of Madison Avenue Awards Luncheon on 9/29!

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Join us as the industry honors a select group of brands chosen by The Ad Club’s International ANDY Awards jury for their dedication to making an impact on marketing, commerce, culture, and social responsibility through BRAVE and CREATIVE work. 2014 Honorees include Apple, Budweiser, BMW, Cadbury, Dove, Guinness, Honda, Nike and Old Spice.

Register here. Hope to see you there!

‘Fem-powerment’ Campaigns Highlight a New Reality for Women

Great article from our very own Chair of the Board Laurel Rossi featured on AdAge.com: “‘Fem-powerment’ Campaigns Highlight a New Reality for Women.”

Check it out here.

Laurel_Rossi_ppt_200x

‘Fem-powerment’ Campaigns Highlight a New Reality for Women

Marketing to Women Will Be Held to a Higher Standard to Reflect Shift in Attitudes

By . Published on September 12, 2014. 

Girl power is on the rebound. We have seen the female empowerment movement spring up in all the right places recently — in ad campaigns, among celebrities, with parents and advocates of young girls, and even within organizations as tech giants like Google and eBay try to be more accountable for increasing diversity in their ranks.

Last week, Ad Age highlighted how advertisers are getting in on the big push for all things girl with “fem-powerment” campaigns such as “Like a Girl” by Always, Dove’s “Real Beauty” and Verizon‘s “Inspire Her Mind.” This article about the renaissance of girl power raised an important question: Do these ads really drive positive changes in our culture or is this just another case of “pinkwashing?” I would argue that these ads aren’t pushing us forward; they’re simply catching up to what’s happening in culture, reflecting ideals and attitudes that many women — and men — already hold true.

The women’s issue is one of the longest-running social justice debates in history. More than a century before women were granted the right to vote, First Lady Abigail Adams chided her husband and then President John Adams about the abject lack of validation of women in America — rather ironic in a country founded on the pillars of equality and freedom. President Adams acknowledged the sheer magnitude of women as an emerging force in many letters with his wife, declaring women as a “tribe more numerous and powerful than the rest.”

While the power of the tribe is growing in terms of education, influence and spirit today, the swell of global feminine empowerment has just begun to hit a crescendo. A cynical New Yorker might say that this sudden interest or consciousness has been spurred by the inevitability that social media will expose any remaining misogynists, so they better get ahead of it. A more optimistic stance could be that women and men alike are truly committed to contributing to the success of our girls and pushing our society to double-down on women’s achievements.

Young men are facing a new type of pressure to live up to the #impossiblestandard of “doing it all” — something that women have been dealing with forever as they juggle the role of breadwinner and parent, decision-maker and listener, power player and empathizer, leader and collaborator, and so on. So where do men fit into the equation? Today’s generation of young men who are coming of age in leadership positions are far more open, if not downright encouraging, of female empowerment. If the name of the game is to create an even playing ground, then we should be inviting the male perspective to the conversation and letting them participate in the movement in a meaningful way.

Powerful new campaigns like Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” and HelloFlo’s “First Moon Party” highlight how this emerging wave of feminism is focused on deprogramming cult-like language and thoughtless visualizations in the hopes of eliminating impossible double standards for girls. It’s not surprising, as a result, that makers of popular culture have begun to shift how we talk to, sell to, appeal to and represent women. I am certain that marketing and advertising will be held to a higher standard than ever before, as transparency and attitudes progress at an accelerated rate, and as a more powerful, passionate and accomplished tribe of women no longer tolerate being held to standards that they had no hand in defining.

How we as marketers and advertisers confront this new reality is no longer a matter of when, but how.

The AD Club’s Guide to AWXI: Access

In excited anticipation of Advertising Week, the world’s premier gathering of marketing and communications leaders, The AD Club has sorted through the event’s extensive calendar in order to curate our very own Guide to AWXI. It can be challenging to navigate such an abundance of industry leaders, information and opportunity at the weeklong event, so we’ve broken up our “must attend events” based on the four pillars of the Club: Diversity, Access, Professional Development and Creativity. Hope to see you there!

Access is not only one of the four pillars of The AD Club, but it is one of the greatest benefits of attending Advertising Week. Explore diverse conversations, absorb thoughtful advice, consider new content and more while connecting with some of the industry’s most interesting and successful leaders. 

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Addressability at Scale and the Digital Audience Platforms: Your Opportunity for Competitive Advantage
Monday, September 29, 2014, 12:30 p.m.

NASDAQ MarketSite

4 Times Square, New York, NY

 

Avoiding Agency Silos: A Look at the Engagement Agency in Today’s Marketing Mix

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 4:30 p.m.

The Microsoft Stage

11 Times Square, New York, NY 10036

 

The Future of Media: Creativity and Connecting with Consumers in the Robotic Age

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 8:15 a.m.

NASDAQ MarketSite

4 Times Square, New York, NY

 

Man Hugs & Beards – Are Contemporary Business Cultures Just Fashion or Serious ROI?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 1 p.m.

B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd Street, New York, NY

 

Changing the Conversation: from Big Data to Customer Experience

Thursday, October 2, 2014, 4 p.m.

Times Center Hall

242 West 41st Street, New York, NY, 10036

 

 

The AD Club’s Guide to AWXI: Professional Development

In excited anticipation of Advertising Week, the world’s premier gathering of marketing and communications leaders, The AD Club has sorted through the event’s extensive calendar in order to curate our very own Guide to AWXI. It can be challenging to navigate such an abundance of industry leaders, information and opportunity at the weeklong event, so we’ve broken up our “must attend events” based on the four pillars of the Club: Diversity, Access, Professional Development and Creativity. Hope to see you there!

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Professional Development is increasingly important in business, as young creative minds begin their careers and work hard to ensure that our future as an industry remains bright. Whether you are a young professional looking to rise the ranks or a business owner searching for advice on bolstering talent, the following events at this year’s Advertising Week aim to provide the invaluable information you’re looking for:

 

Building the Next Generation of Iconic Brands in the Age of 24/7 Information

Monday, September 29, 2014, 11 a.m.

Hard Rock Cafe

1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

 

How to Build an Influential Brand

Monday, September 29, 2014, 2 p.m.

B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd Street, New York, NY

 

Bigger Than Advertising: Building Businesses in the Connected Age

Monday, September 29, 2014, 3 p.m.

Times Center Stage

242 West 41st Street, New York, NY, 10036

 

4A’s Competitive Edge Sessions

Monday, September 29, 2014, 4 p.m.

B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd Street, New York, NY

 

Engagement: The Key to Winning

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 9 a.m.

Hard Rock Cafe

1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

 

Doing Good Still Matters

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 9:30 a.m.

The Microsoft Stage

11 Times Square, New York, NY 10036

 

The New CMO

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 11 a.m.

NASDAQ MarketSite

4 Times Square, New York, NY

 

What Keeps CMOs Up at Night

 Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 1 p.m.

Hard Rock Cafe

1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

 

State of the Industry Series

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 12:30 p.m.

The Microsoft Stage

11 Times Square, New York, NY 10036

 

Advertising Futures

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 3 p.m.

The Microsoft Stage

11 Times Square, New York, NY 10036

The AD Club’s Guide to AWXI: Creativity

In excited anticipation of Advertising Week, the world’s premier gathering of marketing and communications leaders, The AD Club has sorted through the event’s extensive calendar in order to curate our very own Guide to AWXI. It can be challenging to navigate such an abundance of industry leaders, information and opportunity at the weeklong event, so we’ve broken up our “must attend events” based on the four pillars of the Club: Diversity, Access, Professional Development and Creativity. Hope to see you there!

Creativity is the foundation of this industry at large. The collaboration of innovative and original individuals across crafts is something that every audience member at Advertising Week can appreciate. Hear captivating stories, tips, case studies and more from some of the brightest creative minds in our industry at the following events:

 

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Storytelling in Moments that Matter

Monday, September 29, 2014, 10 a.m.

B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd Street, New York, NY

 

Make the Logo Smaller – How Brands Win When Advertising Takes a Back Seat to Content

Monday, September 29, 2014, 12 p.m.

B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd Street, New York, NY

 

Marketing Karma: Creating Behavioral Changes that Change The World

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 4 p.m.

B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd Street, New York, NY

 

Breaking Barriers: How Shell Used Content to Capture the Imagination

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 10 a.m.

B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd Street, New York, NY

 

Unleashing Potential: Creativity & Innovation

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 11 a.m.

B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd Street, New York, NY

 

The Huffington Post Game Changers

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 11 a.m.

Hard Rock Cafe

1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

 

Getting to Yes – Inside the Creative Process

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 1 p.m.

Liberty Theater

234 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036

 

MAKE THE BOX SMALLER: The Strategy is the Idea

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 2 p.m.

B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd Street, New York, NY

 

ANDY 50: Defining Bravery Part II

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 5 p.m.

Times Center Stage

242 West 41st Street, New York, NY, 10036

 

Creative Inspiration

Thursday, October 2, 2014, 11 a.m.

B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd Street, New York, NY

 

THE NEW CREATIVITY: What Will Be the Ad Industry Creative Products of the Future?

Thursday, October 2, 2014, 11:30 a.m.

The Microsoft Stage

11 Times Square, New York, NY 10036

The AD Club’s Guide to AWXI: Diversity

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 12.05.21 PMIn excited anticipation of Advertising Week, the world’s premier gathering of marketing and communications leaders, The AD Club has sorted through the   event’s extensive calendar in order to curate our very own Guide to AWXI. It can be challenging to navigate such an abundance of industry leaders, information and opportunity at the weeklong event, so we’ve broken up our “must attend events” based on the four pillars of the Club: Diversity, Access, Professional Development and Creativity. Hope to see you there!

Diversity is an evergreen subject within the advertising industry and one of the single most important issues at The AD Club. Through initiatives like i’mPART, the Club is constantly working to raise awareness of the benefits of diversity in business and rally professionals around a shared movement. This Advertising Week, we encourage you to get involved in the conversation by attending the following events:

 

Rethinking Marketing to Women

Monday, September 29, 2014, 11 a.m.

Times Center Stage

242 West 41st Street, New York, NY, 10036

 

America Reimagined

Monday, September 29, 2014, 3 p.m.

Lucille’s at B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036

 

Forget Millennials – Why 2015 is the Time to Invest in Boomers!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 2 p.m.

NASDAQ MarketSite

4 Times Square, New York, NY

 

GLAAD Amplified: LGBT Voices in Advertising

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 5:30 p.m.

The Microsoft Stage

11 Times Square, New York, NY 10036

The Ipsos Girls’ Lounge My “SHERO” Dinner

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 7 p.m.

Stella 34 at Macy’s

151 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001

 

MAKERS: Women Who Make America

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 1 p.m.

Hard Rock Cafe

1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

 

Women in Technology

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 10 a.m.

Lucille’s at B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036

 

The Revolution Will Be Visual: Women, Brands and Closing the Gender Gap

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 1 p.m.

Lucille’s at B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036

 

Women Aren’t Creative?

Thursday, October 2, 2014, 10 a.m.

Times Center Stage

242 West 41st Street, New York, NY, 10036

 

Femvertising – Women Demand More as Their Piece of the Purchasing Pie Grows

Thursday, October 2, 2014, 9 a.m.

Liberty Theater

234 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036

Intern Series: Professional Advice Takeaways

As summer winds down and school begins again, our dedicated group of interns reflects on their experiences in the industry for the past several weeks. We at The AD Club have no doubts that this remarkable bunch has a very bright future ahead. Here’s what they’ve learned…

 

One piece of professional advice that I will carry with me is to create my personal brand and follow through with it. Put myself out there and don’t be afraid of trying something new or pushing the boundaries a bit, because that is what will make you stand out. – Jenny Gandhi, Senior at University of Maryland College Park, Internship with Verizon

 

The biggest piece of professional advice that I will carry with me from the AD Club is my ability to create my own niche. Even though no particular seminar focused on this completely, every lesson I learned involved making myself unique in the advertising world. I understand the importance of specializing myself in my own brand and am motivated to determine and develop this brand through my career. – Brian Finkelstein, Junior at University of Massachusetts Amherst, Internship with Havas Worldwide Strat Farm

 

At the beginning of the summer, my mentor told me to take advantage and make the best of every opportunity that comes my way this summer. As an AD Club intern, I had the chance to explore various options within the industry. Taking his advice, I tried to meet as many people as possible — not only at networking events, but also within my internship at Deutsch. I decided to put myself out there and schedule meetings with individuals in various departments throughout the summer — and even had a one-on-one with the CEO! This has not only allowed me to learn more about the industry in general, but also expand my network–which I will definitely carry with me as I approach post-grad life. – Julia Cohen, Senior at Brandeis University, Internship with Deutsch

 

One piece of professional advice that I will take away with me was given from EVP, Director of National Broadcast at Initiative, Kris Magel. One piece of advice he gave that resonated with me was: to be great at something. Magel identified the beginning years of any career are the times to explore different divisions and areas of focus within the industry. However, he strongly advised that one important goal, as a learning professional, should be to become an expert at one thing or one focus of your career. I greatly appreciated this idea because as he suggested, it is easy for people to remember and want to work with a person who is very well-versed in one specific field. He did not undermine the idea of being a well-rounded professional who is skillful in many ways, but did emphasize the importance of arriving at one specific focus that can be most concentrated on when growing as an employee. So as I graduate from this internship program, I will carry away this idea of becoming great at one specific thing so that I can execute my skills and efforts towards becoming a reliable and respected expert. – Abby Vigdor, Senior at Loyola University, Internship with Verizon

 

“One piece of professional advice that I will carry with me will be the importance of self-branding.  In order to enter a desired industry, it is necessary to communicate your personal story in order to demonstrate to others how you personally can benefit that industry.  This can be done by telling your story and establishing a brand for yourself through social media such as LinkedIn or Twitter, or through one-on-one conversations with members in the industry.” – Jack Piontkowski, Senior at Villanova University, Internship with Microsoft

i’mPART: Moving the Ad Industry Forward

imPART is one of the single most important initiatives at The AD Club, designed to raise awareness of the benefits of diversity in business and rally professionals around a shared movement. The acronym represents the pillars of the initiative — to Promote, Attract, Retain and Train multicultural talent. Check out these videos below to meet the advocates and learn more! 
 

 
 

 

ADTHINK Speaker Ulla Engeström on Building a New Network

Ulla Engeström, CEO of ThingLink, discusses how she has learned to categorize the four types of introductions in The Wall Street Journal article below. We are thrilled to welcome Ulla as a speaker for our upcoming event in the ADTHINK series. Stay tuned for further details so you can witness Ulla in action!

Ulla Engeström: Four Ways of Building a New Network

Juliana Harkki

I recently moved from Helsinki to Brooklyn for the purpose of setting up our sales and marketing operations in New York. Though I had previously lived in California for two years, my network of friends and colleagues in the US was small.

Running a tech company outside of Europe was something I had no experience with. In anticipation of the cross-Atlantic move, I had signed up eight U.S.-based angel investors and seven advisers with experience on consumer web, media, advertising, and funding. They, I planned, would now become my support network in New York.

As I eventually managed to get my WiFi operational, and the networking started, I learned to categorize the four types of introductions: 1) free and fun 2) free and focused 3) paid, but unwanted and 4) paid and focused.

Free and Fun

Meeting people without an agenda gives room for serendipity; you never know who you’ll meet next and how that may change your life. As a European female tech entrepreneur in the US, you have chances to be interesting and curious, or just ignored (depending who you already know, of course, and how well you communicate). When you run a company and have two small kids, you should choose your parties well. Your best chances for inspiring and just plainly delightful networking will be at small dinners organized by good friends or fellow entrepreneurs.

Free and focused

When I moved to New York, I often stayed with one of my two closest friends who are well-networked women in science and technology. Both of them have been amazingly helpful professionally and personally and have provided an intellectual peer network that can at any time be activated for a cause. All in all, in the first six months, these existing friendships turned out to be more valuable to my networking than most of my advisors together. I look for any opportunity to return a favor.

Paid, but unwanted

One of the biggest challenges for a startup entrepreneur is to stay focused. When you raise a seed round, a lot of people want to become your advisor, and typically these people like to recommend their friends as your advisors too. Good advisors can surely help you network, but what you don’t want is people, who for the excitement or responsibility of being part of a startup, fill your inbox with random introductions. As everything in business (and life) is about timing, business introductions from advisors who have not invested money in your company, rarely lead to anything useful. Even worse are people who make useless introductions and afterwards come and claim compensation for work that has added zero value to your business.

Paid and Focused

When you move to a new country it takes some time to figure out the things you really need help with and how to find the best people to help you.

So far the best value for money in terms of networking and growing a business has been at events like SXSW. Paying $5,000 for a booth and plane tickets and coming back with 10 customer leads worth of $100,000 monthly recurring revenue is healthier than giving out 0.25 points of equity for closing a $100,000 investment.

In the category of free and potentially fun I have not yet tried is joining networks of other female entrepreneurs. Now that 500 Startups just launched 500 Women, I will try that next.

Ms. Engeström is the CEO of ThingLink, an interactive image platform.

For link to WSJ article, click here

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