The Three Percent!
Spare me your “femvertising”: The advertising industry’s weird, persistent woman problem – Salon.com
Recently, at New York’s Advertising Week, a hedonistic celebration of all things commercial, a half dozen panels focused on women. Discussion topics ranged from the instructional, namely how to avoid insulting women when you’re trying to sell them stuff, to the philosophical, which asked tough questions to the tune of, essentially, “Could it be women’s fault they’re not being promoted?” Panels with titles like “Women Aren’t Creative?” readily recognized that women make 80 percent of household purchasing decisions. What the smiling executives at center stage were a little slower to acknowledge is that women are only 3 percent of the creative directors making decisions about how to best sell things to these millions of shopping ladies. The word “femvertising” was thrown around a lot, but never the word “feminism.” Perhaps that’s because in an industry famous for being sexist, feminism is scary even if it sells.
Where are the women?
Women might be smarter when it comes to selling things to other women. Certainly, they would bring experience to the table. There are differences in male and female shopping.
Yet, in the advertising field, only three percent of the creative directors are women. And this is in a world, a nation, where women go to college and graduate in larger number than men. Is it easy to believe that women are just not applying for these jobs? – that they are just no qualified – that women lack creativity and useful knowledge about marketing to women?
There has to be a suspicion about hiring practices and employment in the industry. Suspect “like hiring like” or an “old boys network” or a” set of frat connections,” there is something wrong.
Can it be that the constant horror of ads in garish poor taste directed at women is a result of women’s absence in key roles in advertising? (1)
You want to pound your head against a stone wall. How can people be comfortable with a field dominated by men when every day we have solid, clear and compelling evidence that when it comes to women, they just don’t get it. Three percent is not an accident, not a statistical anomaly; it’s a conscious decision by hundreds of men to not hire women. And by not hiring women, they damage their ability to make money and please their customers. So, this kind of hiring misogyny is foolish and counterproductive.
Surely, someone, somewhere, can view this statistic and make a better decision. It’s time to hire some women to sell to women.
(1) Given advertisers’ complete willingness to exploit women’s fears and insecurities whenever necessary to promote a product — especially when that product is edible — I wasn’t terribly surprised this morning when I walked onto a Manhattan-bound R train and saw this advertisement …