Throughout history, women have been excluded from big business. Advertising--though it still lacks gender diversity (less than 5 percent of creative directors are women)--is one field that has always demanded a female perspective. In MAKERS: Women in Business, legendary ad man Charlie Moss said, "Women were valued in the business because of their ability to communicate with the customer, which is our lifeblood."
In the 60's, Mary Wells Lawrence was one of the first women to make a name for herself in American advertising. When air travel was a typically male domain, she stepped in to rebrand Braniff Airlines, recommending they hire Emilio Pucci to redesign their staff's uniforms. Then they launchd a campaign around it: "Braniff International announces the end of the plain plane."
Mary Wells Lawrence would go on to create and oversee other legendary campaigns, including the iconic "I Love New York." She started a tradition of creative, lasting ad ideas devised by women. We take a look through some of the most inspiring in the gallery above.
In 1947, the diamond became a must-have engagement jewel because of Frances Gerety's ad campaign for De Beers. She coined the phrase "A Diamond is Forever." Working for Philadelphia ad agency N.W. Ayer & Son, she served as a copywriter for De Beers for 25 years, and (marking her legacy) the New York Times documented Gerety's work in "How Americans Learned to Love Diamonds."
Wells Rich Greene, Mary Wells Lawrence's agency, created a 1972 campaign for Alka Seltzer that became known for one line, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!" According to the New York Times, "The phrase, and a variant, 'The whole thing,' went on to enter the baby-boomer vernacular."
Shelly Lazarus, Ogilvy & Mather's second CEO & Chairman, 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.
Wieden+Kennedy’s Executive Creative Director Susan Hoffman managed Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign.
Julie Scelzo, group creative director at FCB San Francisco, worked on “Live in Levi’s," a campaign to rebrand the old jeans company.
Sally Ann Dale served as Chief Creation Officer for Droga5's "I Will What I Want" campaign for UnderArmour, featuring MAKER Misty Copeland.
Shirley Au is President and COO of Huge, directing the company's global business operations. She led some of the agency's biggest initiatives, including a redesign for JetBlue.