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Harper’s Bazaar featured a powerhouse group of women in honor of yesterday’s season finale where this group of Mad Women came together to discuss Mad Men’s representation of women, its influence on the industry and being a woman in the ad world today. See what Alison Burns of JWT, Kim Getty of Deutsch LA, Lori Hiltz of Havas Media North America and Sarah Watson of BBH New York had to say…
By: Julie Kosin
As Mad Men comes to a close, we sit down with four of today’s leading women in advertising to discuss the show’s representation of women, its influence on the industry and being a woman in the ad world today.
It’s the end of an era: tonight, after seven seasons and eight years on the air,Mad Men airs its final episode. The show, about an advertising agency in 1960s New York and its colorful cast of characters, has been a conversation-starter from the beginning due to its unflinching portrayal of life during this tumultuous decade, including rampant sexism, racism and ageism. The show is also widely considered one of the most feminist on television; over the course of the series, we see two secretaries climb the ranks to become leaders within the agency, watching them deal with gender barriers in the office, work-life balance and motherhood along the way. In preparation for tonight’s final episode, BAZAAR sat down with four female leaders in today’s advertising industry—Alison Burns, Global Client Services Director of J. Walter Thompson; Kim Getty, President of Deutsch LA; Lori Hiltz, CEO of Havas Media North America; and Sarah Watson, Chief Strategy Officer of BBH New York—to disuss Mad Men‘s representation of women in the industry, what it’s like to be a woman in advertising today and the show’s influence on the industry.
BAZAAR: In seven seasons, we see Peggy and Joan climb from roles as secretaries to leadership positions at the top of the company (though not so much in recent episodes, with the merger). What are your thoughts on their trajectories, and how does it differ from a woman who is working in advertising today?
Sarah Watson: We’re talking about social shifts here, and the workplace only being a part of that. Even when I think about what advertising agencies were in culture was so different then. It was where alpha males went to do big, ambitious things and that’s completely changed from how it is today. The whole thing is like the Wild West and it’s almost as if everyone is just gonna dive in and find their own way and fight for it. The whole situation was a much more rough and rugged one. Everyone is coming up from their own ranks, even Don. But it feels wholly credible to me, the way in which, particularly Joan and Peggy, just know what they want and express themselves and go for it and get it. And the way they navigate this really difficult environment—they’re both on very, very clear trajectories.
Kim Getty: You remember a few episodes ago, Don was asked to define the vision and the future of the company, he’s trying to figure out what they’re going to be about and no one knows. He asks Peggy and she says, “I want to be the first female creative director.” She knows exactlywhat she wants, and I think that’s something that hasn’t changed. I think that whether you’re a man or a woman, if you want to succeed in this field, you have to know exactly what you want and you have to go for it. And that’s the thing I’ve loved about Peggy. I haven’t always agreed with all of the ways she’s gotten there but she’s had real focus and it’s been what’s mattered for her.
Alison Burns: I think one of the things that’s quite pioneering about their situation is they’re dealing with a starting point on the ladder, which recognized the conventions of the time. So they need to be so purposeful and so determined to start their journey of upward mobility because they’re starting from a very stereotypical, very ossified, very conventional place in the world, and they’re used to that. They know that they have got to drive hard to extricate themselves from what would otherwise be a suffocating situation. But it feels to me that it’s a much more pioneering scenario than—in a lot of ways—what we witness today because of the conventional and societal difficulties and expectations they are already confronting them before they even think about careers. When I went back and watched a bunch of the earlier episodes it’s striking that there they are, square-shouldered women in the workplace, determined to ascend. It feels as though, a generation and a half later, you would recognize their circumstance today in ways that you wish you wouldn’t. I’m not sure that we’ve come as far in lots of ways, since then, as they had come from their mothers’ generation, where they would not have been outside the domestic environment.
BAZAAR: So you’re saying that you still see this glass ceiling in the industry today?
SW: I don’t think you can generalize. I think it really is down to what country you’re in, what agency culture you’re in, and also what department you’re in. It’s so interesting what’s happened with them going to McCann now. I think it’s magnificent the way that they’re really portraying the cultures and the cultural differences. Everyone’s been talking about Mad Men all these years, “oh, it’s this sexist workplace,” and it’s like oh, now you’re in McCann, and what you thought was sexism was actually a fluffy family! The scene with Roger and Peggy and the roller skates when they were saying goodbye and he gives her that erotic portrait. It could’ve been seen as a really aggressive, sexist, nasty gesture, but I think he gives it to her as a fond gift between peers and you realize that it’s quite an egalitarian culture at Sterling Cooper. When you then go to McCann, you really see the difference. And I think this is true today. I think different agencies have very different cultures and it really depends on who’s in leadership. I think there’s also an interesting issue, which is, Peggy’s a creative, she’s a copywriter, Joan’s an account man, well, operations person. Those are two very different roles and I think gender plays out there because Joan is very client-facing and some of the worst things that happened to her are in the client sphere, which was incredibly male at that moment in time. Peggy is a creative so she has to fight slightly more internally within the creative environment.
KG: I also had sort of been able to manage the sexism on the show and enjoy the show, but watching what happened to Joan when she got to McCann was heartbreaking, like tears-streaming-down-my-face heartbreaking. And it actually caused me to think about the same thing. You know, working at Deutsch, I’ve been there 12 years, it basically makes me a lifer. It’s been an incredibly supportive environment and we have a lot of female leadership there. I’m surrounded by female leaders and I think because of that, I’m not always as tuned-in to some of the challenges that exist beyond this special community that we created.
AB: I think the departmental point is quite an interesting one because it has always been very counterintuitive to me and remains to this day astonishing that the creative department should remain so male-dominated as it is today. Because, rather stereotypically, one considers women to be highly successful creative human beings and they tend to be very successful in environments that are intrinsically or inherently creative. And yet that’s not true in advertising agencies. They’re still under-represented, as are openly gay people, as are ethnically diverse people. You need diversity of imagination and you need a colliding of disparate views to be inspired in that way and yet the opposite is true. They tend to be highly structured, very male, very heterosexual and very white creative departments. And it should be the photographic negative of that.
BAZAAR: Matthew Weiner once said in an interview that creative needed a woman there because they needed a woman’s point of view to sell the pantyhose and the lipstick and that’s where Peggy comes in.
SW: It’s a double-edged sword. It plays out as a bit of an advantage for Peggy because—one of my colleagues just wrote an article about this; she calls it going to “girl jail,” where if you’re a girl creative, you have to work on the tampons—so, in a way, it’s a card that gets her in, but then it becomes a bit constraining after a while. But I suppose it does give her that access.
KG: I do love, though, how some of those traditional “chick accounts”—I think some of the very best work in advertising has come out of those brands in the last year. If you look at “Like a Girl,” if you look at some of the Dove work—which, by the way, this hasn’t all been done by women—I think that there’s been some really, really interesting work there that sort of broke through some of those stereotypes. I think that women should be jumping on those opportunities and really take them as a chance to show people how great that work can be. Because for years it has had that sort of “girl jail” negativity attached to it.
Lori Hiltz: In my career, I was born and raised in Detroit in the automotive industry, so imagine this in 1982: I worked probably for the most chauvinistic group of professionals. I was the only woman in an entire organization. There’s no technology. There’s absolutely nothing but barriers. Starting in the business when media and creative and everything was still sitting together, it was, “oh, you go over in the media department, you can’t manage an account. You can’t. Because you’re a girl.” I swear. So that’s how I got into media, because there was no room for girls at the table. It was the real essence of advertising because it was perceived that it was a man’s world, especially in automotive.
BAZAAR: Do you think that Peggy and Joan are at all representative of your roles within the advertising industry? For example, critics of Homeland say Carrie is a poor representation of intelligence operatives.
AB: I think they’re very heavily outnumbered, obviously, so the responsibility those characters bear to be extrapolatable is a bit unfair. I don’t think any two female characters could be as representative of the breadth of women in the industry today. But I do think the poignancy of those characters is that they are very recognizable to me and very identifiable as lots of women that have worked around me and with me and that I work with today, including parts of myself.
KG: I think they are super interesting as—and I don’t know Matthew Weiner—but maybe he’s trying to represent two poles of femininity in the workplace. So you have Peggy, who has for the most part sort of shut down her sexuality and her femininity, down to giving up her child, which is the most defining symbol of her womanhood. And then you have Joan, who has gone very much in the other direction. And I think, if I look at myself, I’ve got Peggy and Joan in me. And as I look back over the last 20 years, I probably used to be a lot more Peggy and as I’ve become more confident and a little more settled into myself I’ve let a little bit more of my Joan come out. There are an awful lot of boxy pantsuits in my past. You just feel like you’ve gotta really close that part of yourself down so that you do fit in and you can be a part of this all-male room. And I think we’ve all had the experience of being the only chick in the room literally hundreds of thousands of times. But I look at my role now as helping everyone to feel more confident and comfortable sharing their femininity. I make intentional choices. I bring up my kids a lot at work because I want people who work at Deutsch to feel comfortable being parents and being moms and recognizing that’s an important part of being who they are. It’s been a surprisingly nice way to connect with clients, too, who don’t always get a chance to talk about that part of their lives. But I look at Peggy and Joan and I think we’re all a little Peggy and Joan, all of us.
LH: I think as women leaders, there’s a much greater dimension to us as human beings because of the mother role. I’m a stepmother, I’m a step-grandmother. It’s very different for me to walk into a room with my grandchildren. I have a day job. It’s a different kind of situation. Imagine back then, when all of this was really happening in the industry. You didn’t really put all that out. I was very guarded and somewhat private. I keep thinking of the evolution of them as individual characters and all of us sitting at this table—it’s a really different dimension than it would have been 30 or 40 years ago.
SW: The thing that I’m playing with in my mind is the steely focus they both have and the sacrifices they’ve made and how hard-nosed they’ve had to be to get where they are. And I think oh, well, that’s different today, but now I’m thinking about my own life and the people around me and of course, you don’t know what people go through and actually, we know more about [the characters] and their other lives and the context than we do about our own colleagues. I’m thinking maybe that hasn’t changed, maybe it is a professional truism that you’ve got to be that focused to get anywhere in this business. So I guess they still represent that.
AB: I realize this is a bit of a digression but I look at the accusation at Hillary Clinton that she’s going to be distracted by being a grandmother—and having gone through the last election cycle with Mitt Romney juggling several hundred Mormon grandchildren—in 2016 it’s going to be used to diminish her because the implication is that she will be emotionally engaged and divided by the presence in her life of young children in an way that a man would not. She’s gonna be damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t, because otherwise she’s a hard-nosed, driven, utterly ruthless and focused “man-girl.” But if, on the other hand, if you see her cuddling little Charlotte, it’ll be, “well, her mind’s totally somewhere else, isn’t it?” And I think that is present in the industry, the choices we’re making about what we wear and the presence of the personal side of our lives and all of those things that are used by us strategically and choicefully to present a brand that we think is going to be successful in our careers. And you see a lot of that in the show, those selections that are made. I think consciously and subconsciously, every day we make those selections. What dimensions of myself am I going to burnish, present, package, disguise, in order to be the personal and professional brand I choose to be?
BAZAAR: How have your male colleagues reacted to the storylines on the show? Is there debate over whether sexism exists?
AB: I’m putting words into their mouths, really, but a lot of my male colleagues are quite flattered by the glamorized resurgence of the industry, because there’s a lot of identity crisis in the industry, about its status in the world and whether it is a befitting corporate alpha profession. And I think for a lot of men, the reintroduction of the nostalgia that comes with Madison Avenue and martinis, the era where titans were titans in the industry, I think there’s a lot of flattery in it.
BAZAAR: How do you think the show’s female characters would react to the industry today?
KG: Thrilled. I think if you look at what’s happening, you look around, you look at these incredible women in this room, and there’s dozens and dozens and not enough of us but there’s certainly a lot of us. I think they’d be really excited about the battles that don’t have to be fought.
LH: I meant shock like in a positive way. Like, whoa! I think they probably look at this room and they think, yeah, you go girl!
AB: I think most characters would observe that we are less lonely as women in our industry today and I think this kind of phenomenon, which Kim talked about right at the beginning, which is, haven’t we all experienced being the only chick in the room in a sea of men? And you do look left and look right and the novelty or the intoxication of that uniqueness wears off very fast and you find yourself wishing that there were other female voices and other female points of view and that it felt more diverse. And so I think they would look at our industry today and say, at least I would not be either deified or vilified for being the only woman. I would feel as though I were more normal in that environment
KG: I think one thing that’s interesting is, we all get the calls for jobs, right? And I’ve been so surprised over the last few years that more often than not, they’re really looking for a woman for this role. And it’s very interesting to me because in one way, you think, wow, that’s great, I’m really excited that that company is thinking in that sort of way. On the other hand, it’s like, well, I don’t want to be wanted for this role because of my extra X chromosome. There’s gotta be other qualifications than that. But I do think it’s evidence that companies are looking to achieve that diversity that you’re talking about, Alison, and sort of pushing to drive more diversity into their organizations.
SW: I suppose the reason I’m stumbling a bit on this question is I think Peggy just loved being a pioneer and being a challenge and just doing her thing. I don’t know if she’d be interested enough, I think she’d be in Silicon Valley now, really breaking a terrible, one-percent female bias. I think Joan would be delighted by it but I think Peggy would be a bit like, she might want a bit more of a challenge somewhere else.
BAZAAR: What was your favorite moment involving a female character on the show?
LH: I’m still drawn to Betty. Because I think she was reflective of the change in society and culture and struggling with who am I, what am I doing and I’m married to this guy I don’t really love, but I love him, but I don’t love him, but I got all these kids and I don’t have a skill and I don’t have any ambition and I’m depressed. Seriously, she should have her own show. She was such a strong character at the start and all of her challenges that happened along the way, she was somewhat reflective of what was happening with women at that time. I was attracted to her and her character because I always figured that Peggy would win and Joan would just survive because she had it all going on.
KG: I’m just so sad for Betty right now because she waited so long to pursue her own dream. And so she does it and her first day at school, she finds out she’s out of time. And I think there’s a really strong message in that, which is don’t wait.
SW: Those are my favorite moments. There’s one very early in the series where I think Betty goes to be a model very briefly and she thinks she’s got it and then she doesn’t and the show ends with her, she’s got a cigarette, and she goes into the back garden and shoots the birds. I think what the show is so amazingly articulate about is that human beings are only fulfilled when they’re doing the work they want to do. The further they get away from just doing their thing, answering their calling, the further off the rails they get. The closer they get to doing meaningful work, and for me if there’s one amazing, beautiful message of the show, it is that. And [Matthew Weiner] acknowledges it in men and in women equally, but obviously the women have much more of a tough canvas to deal with it on. So if there’s one image for me, it’s her shooting the birds totally linked to her dreams.
LH: You know, Don always had a bourbon or a scotch in a gorgeous crystal class, it was always on a prepared cart in his office. Peggy had a beer! She had a beer in a bottle, sitting by the typewriter. I love that she’s slugging a beer and he’s got this beautiful, sexy glass. I was like, seriously, how many women would bring a beer bottle into an office next to their electric typewriter?
Originally featured on Harper’s Bazaar.
AD Club Summer Seminar Series & Enhancement Program kicks off on June 1st, don’t miss the chance to send your entry-level employees and summer interns. This series is perfect to gain a 360-degree perspective and insider insight of the Advertising and Marketing industry.
Alex Lubar, Global CMO, McCann; Alexandra Dziuma, Director of Client Management, Millward Brown; Joe Morelli, Account Executive, Weiden+Kennedy; Adam Kerj, CCO & Lisa Setten, Head of Integrated Production, JWT NY; Patrick Grandinetti, Head of Industry, Telecom, Google; Cindy Augustine, Global Chief Talent Officer, FCB and more!
There’s still time to register your summer interns and new entry-level hired for our Internship Enhancement Program. The AD Club is offering the full program to Corporate Members for $100 to send two interns/new-hires.
Last call for Participants: Secure space before this Wednesday, May 20!
For more information and to register, click here!
The show Mad Men came to a close last night, and we’re getting a final look at the state of advertising during the creative revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. So this month, in honor of Mad Men’s television finale, The AD Club asked several of our Leaders and members: What’s different and what’s the same about the ad business and creativity between the Mad Men era and the present? What does the future of the industry look like? Can you share any predictions for the future?
This is what they had to say…
Putting aside the arguments that many have regarding drinking, workplace equality, gender roles, and other social and political issues addressed during Mad Men’s seven year installment , the show has successfully highlighted two truths that have remained the same decade after decade: Clients don’t always know best (I kid, I kid), as well as sometimes you have to go with your gut. While our industry and the ideation process has evolved greatly since the 1960s, thanks to technology and the resulting data driving decision-making, the decision making process still involves a sense of human intuition. Creativity has always been at the heart of our industry, and I believe the next decade will only bring an intensification of data-fueled creativity limited only by our lack of imagination and desire to innovate.
The same: It’s still about gaining the right kind of attention for your brand. What’s different: the amount of stuff you have to compete with for that attention. And that changes everything. When people had no choice but to see your message, you could be lazy and dull. You could also have two-hour lunches and come back drunk. When you have to win their attention in an endless number of media, you eat at your desk.
Such a great show – I will be so sorry to see it come to a close. It has reminded me of many things I love about this industry. I have vivid memories of one of the shows in (I think) the third season. It was when Don was selling an idea to the executives from Kodak on their latest 35mm slide projector. The client came in with a very rational brief, calling it a “wheel” – but Don responded with a much bigger, more powerful idea. He harnessed the emotional power and wonder of a child on a Carousel. He renamed the product, inspired the client and showed how great ideas, beautifully crafted, can change an entire category. That’s something we should never, ever forget about our business. In our soul, we are about great, creative ideas. As far as all the rampant male chauvinism and “before lunch” alcoholism – we won’t miss that! That’s something that belongs back in the 60’s!…
My father worked at N.W. Ayer & Sons until the late ’60s, so I’ve always felt connected to that world. He put David Ogilvy on a pedestal reserved otherwise for Phillies’ Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn (we’re from Philly). My favorite Ogilvy maxim is “search all the parks in all your cities. You’ll find no statues of committees.”
As I moved into advertising, my father, (remembering the Don Draper days) said “Be careful. There’s lots of drinking.” Sadly by then, the three-martini lunch was down to a cappuccino—skim, of course. Smoking squelched, ties out, and computers in.
Now I have kids in college. What can I tell them about the future of this business? There will always be room for ideas. Data and efficiency now matter, but truly authentic ideas always win. If you’re creative and think big, there will be room for you at the table 20 years from now. Just don’t smoke. Look what happened to Betty.
A federal district court in Connecticut has ruled that an affiliate marketing network was responsible for false claims made by the affiliate marketers in its network when these affiliates were promoting a company that sold weight loss and colon-cleanse products through deceptive means.
The case began when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint in federal court in Connecticut involving purported weight loss and colon-cleanse products sold under various brand names by LeanSpa, LLC, NutraSlim, LLC, and NutraSlim, U.K., Ltd. (collectively, “LeanSpa”), asserting that LeanSpa had made misleading weight loss claims and had offered false promises of “free” trials.
In addition, the FTC alleged that LeanSpa had hired LeadClick Media, Inc., and LeadClick Media, LLC (together, LeadClick) so that its products could be made available to affiliate marketers through LeadClick’s affiliate marketing network for online advertising as part of its eAdvertising division. According to the FTC, LeadClick used its network of affiliate marketers to lure consumers to LeanSpa’s online store, including through the use of bogus news sites that misappropriated the logos of legitimate media outlets and that falsely claimed that independent journalists had endorsed the products.
In particular, the FTC alleged that LeadClick had represented that “objective news reporters” had performed independent tests demonstrating the effectiveness of LeanSpa’s products and that comments following these “news reports” expressed the views of independent consumers when no news reporters had performed independent tests and when the comments following the reports did not express the views of independent consumers.
The FTC and LeanSpa reached a settlement, and the FTC moved for summary judgment against LeadClick. The FTC argued that LeadClick had engaged in deceptive marketing practices in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.
The court granted the FTC’s motion for summary judgment against LeadClick. In its decision, the court found that fake news sites used to promote LeanSpa products – with logos of genuine news outlets, a fake “news page format” that claimed that a reporter was conducting independent tests of the LeanSpa products, and purportedly independent consumer comments – were deceptive, material misrepresentations that were “likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstance” as a matter of law.
The court then decided that LeadClick could be liable under the FTC Act for the deceptive content on its affiliates’ websites, notwithstanding the FTC’s concession that LeadClick had not created the fake news sites. The court explained that LeadClick employees had known that “fake news sites were being used to promote LeanSpa products on the eAdvertising Network,” had recruited the affiliates, had the power to approve or reject their marketing websites, and had given feedback about the content of those sites.
Even though LeadClick contended that it could not be held liable because it had not actually created the fake news sites, the court decided that LeadClick had participated in, and had the authority to control, the affiliate marketers’ conduct insofar as it related to the fake news sites. Thus, the court concluded, LeadClick had violated Section 5 of the FTCA as a matter of law.
The court also rejected LeadClick’s claim that it was immune from liability under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) which provides immunity from certain liability for service providers based on the content transmitted by their users, concluding that LeadClick was responsible in part for the fake news sites promoting LeanSpa’s products and was not a mere service provider.
Accordingly, the court concluded that LeadClick had to disgorge nearly $12 million it had received from LeanSpa as payment for its affiliate marketing services.
Ronald R. Urbach, Chairman/Co-Chair: email@example.com
Gary A. Kibel, Partner: firstname.lastname@example.org
Original article by D&G here.
This year’s Digital Content NewFronts featured nearly two weeks of content from 34 companies (up from 2014’s 22) including both major players (e.g. AOL, Yahoo!) and new participants (e.g. Elite Daily, Bloomberg Media), and MEC‘s team was on the ground capturing all the news and announcements. As part of our MEC@ series, MEC hosted The New Creators: When Data & Creativity Collide, spotlighting the new elite class of content producers. With presentations from creators including BuzzFeed, Bloomberg Media, Twitter, Niche, and Vice, the conversation focused on the impact of data and creativity on the future of programming and marketing strategies.
Check out the 5 major trends we saw coming out of the NewFronts, and why they matter to marketers here!
Last week, Redefining Bravery emerged in NYC during Creative Week where each of our speakers defined bravery in their very own ways. Our moderator Gerry Graf of Barton Graf 9000 opened our event by defining bravery in his own terms.
“When you do brave work, it’s because that means you have value. Brave work means it’s original, and original works. Being brave means to question everything.”
He welcomed the panel which included Winston Binch and Pete Favat of Deutsch Inc., Tor Myhren of Grey, Wyatt Neumann of Fox Creative, Jeff Kling of Fallon and Suroosh Alvi of VICE.
Here are the key takeaways from some of our bravest leaders in the advertising industry:
Winston Binch, Chief Digital Officer & Pete Favat, Chief Creative Officer, Deutsch Inc
Winston and Pete kicked off the presentations and defined bravery by showcasing a number of clients that inspired their bravery throughout their careers. They spoke about how these marketers pushed their agency executives to pursue work that was challenging and provocative, which is where the true bravery lies. According to Pete and Winston, the client doesn’t always get as much credit for their challenging attitudes and bravery as they should.
Brave clients (current and past) include:
1) Dr. Cheryl Healton, CEO of American Legacy (present)
2) Bryan Finke, Director of Digital Marketing, Nike (2001 – 2005)
3) Joanna Jacobson, VP Marketing and Product Development, Converse Corp.
4) Dominos Pizza (present)
5) Brian Niccol, CEO of Taco Bell (2015)
6) Russ Klein, president of global marketing, strategy and innovation at Burger King (present)
7) Jeff Jones, EVP and CMO, Target (2012 – present)
“When you think about it, we always take the credit for the clients work, but they (the clients) never come up with us. AD Club started to recognize our clients.” – Pete Favat
“We want to say thanks to our brave clients, because that’s the reality. They’re the brave ones.” – Winston Binch
Key Takeaways from Pete and Winston:
- Client credit: The clients are often the ones who encourage us, their agencies, to be brave and to do brave work.
- Gratitude goes a long way. Clients deserve equal recognition when it comes to receiving a creative award. The AD Club and ANDYs acknowledge this as imperative compared to other creative award shows.
Tor Myhren, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer, Grey
Tor spoke about an important truth for inspiring bravery: provide a work environment that empowers, encourages, and provides comfort.
He introduced Grey’s “Heroic Failure Award”, which has been won only by 7 people before. It’s given to individuals whose ideas failed when they were presented, but they failed epically. The ideas were provocative, ballsy, and innovative – and the individuals should be proud of their ideas and efforts, despite the failure. Being brave is something to be rewarded.
“We at Grey do something that’s called the Heroic Failure Award. Awesome to win it, just don’t win it twice.”
Wyatt Neumann, Photographer, Fox Creative
Wyatt is a renowned photographer who was publicly accused of posting child pornography of his daughter across his social channels. Lobbyists tried to have his Instagram, Twitter and website shut down and publicly shamed him for his art.
His first instinct was to fight back and to defend himself, his daughter and his art. But ultimately, he took a higher road, transcending the negativity, and bravely shared those same photos in a gallery because to him, this was art and an expression of love for his child. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, and he is now known for this act of bravery rather than the accusation.
“Your initial response is to fight back, which I did. When you get stuck in these situations, if you’ve done everything with integrity, then it’s not that hard to be brave.” – Wyatt Neumann
Key Takeaways from Tor and Wyatt:
- Choices: People will judge your character not in good times, but in bad times. This is when you have a choice to be brave or stay silent. The latter can taint your brand/name forever. When you get stuck in these situations, if you’ve done everything with integrity, then it’s not that hard to be brave.
Jeff Kling, Chief Creative Officer, Fallon
Jeff shared an anecdote about his first day at his first advertising agency, Wieden + Kennedy, on April 1st, 1996. W+K was celebrating their anniversary, and had a talent show where Jeff decided this was the perfect moment to do standup comedy…and he failed miserably.
He talked about the fear he had up on stage, and how fear is an essential element that feeds bravery. And really, creatives are not bravery experts but rather fear experts. But harnessing this fear is what keeps you alive and successful.
“Fear sits all over us, and it makes for a terrible muse. Fear keeps us alive.”
Key Takeaways from Jeff:
- Fear: We are fear experts in advertising. Fear is terrible, but fear keeps us alive.
Suroosh Alvi, Co-founder, VICE Media
Suroosh opened with a video montage of his bravest moments – he has gone with VICE all over the world and covered the darkest, scariest places to uncover the truth. There is a massive amount of fear that accompanies the bravery of diving into these unknown situations. In just a few years, VICE has evolved from a magazine publication company to a massive and popular news / media /content producer today. Starting on this new venture with no idea what to expect was scary, exciting and incredibly brave.
“Bagdad helped me overcome certain fears but scared me shitless…At times, we’ve taken certain risks, but if we don’t come back with a story we’ve failed.”
Key Takeaway from Suroosh:
- Bravery disguised as fear: Going to scary places and coming out alive can make a person brave by first being fearful.
- Fear of the unknown: Sometimes the bravest thing to do is pursue something you’ve never done before or have no knowledge of, whether that’s going into an unfamiliar country to get a story, or expand your company not knowing what lies next.
We learned a lot this year, particularly that bravery has and always will remain timeless. A very special thanks to everyone who had a part of the ANDY Awards – whether that was judging work, submitting work, or celebrating bravery every day – and most importantly for inspiring us along the way.
By: Michael Kassan, Chairman & CEO, MediaLink
“Man maintains his balance, poise and sense of security only as he is moving forward.” — Maxwell Maltz
I’ve always loved Maltz’s quote, which served as the foundation for the self-help movement that would follow in its wake. Yet it has always begged the question — what happens when the things that are moving us forward are the very things that are causing our insecurities?
As the 2014 year-end recaps roll in, we will see statements (all true) that we live in the “Age of the Platform” or the “Age of the Cloud” or the “Age of Mobile.” All of these are predicated on our drive to make information more accessible and moremeaningful. Yet with this fluidity and convenience comes vulnerability, and with the ability to manage vulnerability comes trust.
Brand marketing and its public market cousin “good will” are built on this bedrock.
In looking back over the last few months, many of the biggest stories this year were about breaches in trust. Whether it was Target’s CEO stepping down in the aftermath of a serious customer data breach, the leaked nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence or, most recently, this month’s trove of personal data and communication hacked from Sony Pictures.
No one wishes this on their worst enemy. These stories are the consequences of bad actors taking advantage of our progress.
Respecting the security of information has always been an issue and a fascination of the public. (Watergate, anyone?) But this year something in the air changed. The security breaches of 2014 made (and have stayed in) the news not just because of Hollywood schadenfreude, but because of the scale and personalization of those affected.
It doesn’t matter if it was a state-backed terrorist attack or that of a private hacking group with a vengeance (both scary, both unforgivable). The consequences of all this are very serious, especially for us as marketers. Any security breach — whether it’s financial data, customer details or even organizational “dirty laundry” — erodes the trust and goodwill that is essential to brands. Once a brand loses the trust of its consumers, it may never earn it back. To paraphrase the sentiments of Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel, it truly has “devastating” implications.
There can’t be confusion any longer: There is no separate “digital world” anymore — it’s just the world we live in. The CMO, CIO, CTO mash-up is at its most heightened urgency when it comes to working on cybersecurity. What does choosing one malware protection software over the other say about a CPG or QSR company? How does that impact the way our audiences and consumers view us as credible service or product providers?
Protecting consumer data was always table-stakes, but the stakes — clearly — have gotten much higher.
My prediction was that 2014 would be the year in which how a business managed the “mashup” of the CMO/CIO/CTO would become the differentiator between companies that would flourish and flounder.
Going into 2015, the mash-up is complete. There is no longer such a thing as a “technical issue.” Everything is now a consumer issue.
To read the original article, visit MediaBizBloggers.
As we gear towards next year’s International ANDY Awards, we want to take a look back at what this year has taught us, particularly from our inspiring 2015 ANDY Awards winners, and our Redefining Bravery events both in London and in New York City.
We asked our industry’s fearless leaders: “Why do certain creative leaders and marketers and their work continue to stand out amongst the rest?”
See what they had to say in our Bravery Video here: http://bit.ly/1Gjozzi
We learned a lot this year, particularly that bravery has and always will remain timeless. A very special thanks to everyone who participated in the making of this video over the past year, and most importantly for inspiring us along the way.