Jen Lorentzen:

Our recap of relevant insights from this annual conference, focused on the advancement of women in leadership within the advertising industry (only 3% of CDs are women).

“Women are being played back through a male gaze [in advertising]—which is not good for society, culture … [anyone].” Cindy Gallop’s opening keynote was definitely the most insightful and applicable presentation of the conference. "When you advertise to everybody,” she says, “fundamentally you are advertising to men, and when you advertise to women it’s a specialist thing. But that is no longer the case—we are not a subset, we are the norm.”

What we took away from her speech was that businesses and marketers need to understand these facts in order to make a shedload more money:

Women buy. Women are responsible for 90% of all electronics purchases and influence 60% of all car-buying decisions. Businesses are throwing their dollars away if they’re advertising just to men.

Women share. “Women share the s— out of everything. Social media has merely given women a way to do everything we’ve always done since the beginning of time.”

Women do. “We get s— done. We make stuff happen. And that’s why we desperately need a new approach to creativity that includes women–not just white guys sitting around talking to white guys about what white guys want. That’s boring. The new creativity is female-informed. The new creativity is real."

Women innovate. “Women challenge the status quo because we’re never it. If you start an ad agency today with an all-male founder/leadership team, you’re screwed. You will not own the future.”

We couldn’t agree more. Hire an agency like CKC to help bring this perspective! 

The conference was also largely positioned for professional growth. My notes below focus on being in the creative field, and less about relevant takeaways in the business of women’s communication.

I gave a talk at the Popcorn Sessions this fall about “Redefining Success” - which I think is important for everyone regardless of gender. I have discussed with the #designingwomenpdx about how a system of success defined and designed by men through the years is obviously a part of the problem. For example, Sheryl Sandberg talks about how it took her being pregnant to suggest front row parking for pregnant women. It took someone at the top to make the call, and she was the first one who could relate. Gallop went on to talk about collaboration and community as female models of success.

I attended a panel discussion about female focused accounts, but there were few insights I could apply to my day. What I wanted was to learn how to inspire my clients to talk to their female audience. Having big budgets against women’s specific creative will ultimately move women into positions of leadership - creative and not.

Otherwise, there were some good takeaway nuggets, but not a lot of action items. It was mostly a panel format and in most cases I felt that I had my own stories to tell. I was disappointed to see 400 of the best and brightest in one room and not see them engaged as a team. It was good to connect with JDK alumni, too.