"What Do Women Think?"-- Meet Shelly Lazarus, The Pioneer Behind Many Super Bowl Ads

As much as the Super Bowl is about football, it’s also about the commercials.  After all, airing a 30-second spot during Super Bowl XLVII costs close to $4 million, according to Forbes. So today, we feature the pioneering advertising executive who's overseen multiple Super Bowl ads, MAKER Shelly Lazarus.


Lazarus’ 40-plus year career at Ogilvy & Mather began when she knew she did not want to learn to type-—a skill a woman needed to be a secretary. Instead, Lazarus graduated from Smith College, earned an MBA from Columbia University, and ultimately found herself at Ogilvy & Mather. She was one of the few women in the ad industry at the time, and it was even rarer that she was on the accounts side.


Lazarus moved up the corporate ladder, and when Ogilvy’s first female CEO & Chairman, Charlotte Beers, stepped down in 1996, Lazarus stepped up. Her impact on advertising and promoting real women’s points of view through advertising was not only significant, but it also paid off. She worked with Dove to create work that took on truthful insights about real women. The result was Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty and the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, which aired as a spot in 2007 for Super Bowl XL and went on to win several awards.


Other commercials that aired during the Super Bowl while Lazarus was Ogilvy & Mather’s CEO include the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s “Car” and IBM’s “Prodigy III.”  Lazarus also hired Steve Hayden, the chief creative officer who created the iconic "1984" Apple commercial that aired during the 1984 Super Bowl. The spot is said to have originated the sensation of watching the Super Bowl just for the commercials…perhaps we can thank Shelly Lazarus for that!