We need more women in advertising

According to she-conomy.com, 85 percent of all brand purchases are made by women. But incredibly, only three percent of advertising agency creative directors are women. That means men are doing most of the advertising to women.

Pick up any Communication Arts magazine “Advertising Annual,” a compendium of the year’s best advertising in the US. When you look for the creative teams developing the work, it’s about 90 percent men. They’re selling women feminine hygiene products, makeup, clothing, jewelry, pregnancy products…you name it.

How can they possibly know and understand the female mindset? Sure, they get tons of research to help them craft compelling messaging. But when it comes to actual female emotions, I really don’t think they have a clue.

So why don’t more ad agencies staff their creative departments with women? The female writers I know can concept a headline and write motivating text¬† just as well as any man. Ditto for the female art directors I know.

Is it the ‘Boys Club’ mentality? Is it fear of being one-upped by, horrors, a girl? I judged an ADDY’s show a few years ago with a talented creative director from Minneapolis. I asked him if his firm ever hired women copywriters. He said, “Oh, we had a client specifically request a woman writer this year, but we couldn’t find anyone.” Really? I mean, really? In the whole country?

I told a male writer friend in Phoenix that his creative department had too much testosterone. “We’ve been talking about that with our creative director,” he said. But that was months ago. They still haven’t hired any women.

I think the facts speak for themselves. Women make most of the buying decisions in a household. Therefore, it stands to reason that women are uniquely qualified to advertise to other women. Ad agencies take note: hiring women creatives could be the smartest thing you do this year.