Where Are The Women Creative Directors?

A recent Advertising Age magazine included an ad for a conference entitled "What Women Want From Brands".  In it were the jaw dropping and gargantuanly contradictory statistics that 85% of brand purchases are made by women, but that 91% of women say advertisers don't understand them.  I guess the obvious question is, could this disconnect be driven by the fact that only 3% of ad agency creative directors are women?   

What is the logic or business purpose behind this reality? How is the dearth of women in senior advertising roles strategic to that business? Has it been established that men somehow know more about women than women do? Are women somehow incapable of creating strategic advertising messages for each other?  

Seriously, in the world of business, that ostensibly is driven by performance and profit, how can this imbalance be justified even in the slightest?  

So, here's the '7 Trillion Dollar Question' (the amount women will spend this year): if general market companies go to multicultural agencies because they believe those firms can best target those consumers, then should the vast majority of general market advertising agencies be led by women - since the overwhelming majority of general market brand purchases are made by women? And if not, why not?

Advertisers are constantly (and justifiably) bemoaning the effectiveness of work by their agencies. They push them to develop creative that is more effective, that better drives consumption, and that generally has a more direct connection to financial performance.   Could the fact that there are so few women creative directors and an overall lack of women in leadership roles in ad agencies be a part of the problem?  How long until brands connect the dots on these statistics and demand more women in key roles in their agencies?

Is patriarchy standing in the way of better advertising and bigger, more profitable consumer brands?

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Tags: advertising, creativedirectors, women

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