Dear Junior Series // 05

Dear Junior: an attempt to ask industry leaders the pressing questions that us, the quarrelous and unfriendly youth of today, are interested to find answers to. In our fifth installment, we’re talking Women in Advertising. Rather than write an intro ourselves full of the male bravado you’ve come to know and love, we hired an intern to do the job for us. Here’s Crystal with her very best intro.

Chaka Khan once sang, “I’m a woman in a man’s world”. She was chanting about the wonderful world of showbiz but it’s fair to say the wonderful world of advertising is only the far less glamorous sister. It’s a sausage-fest no matter where you go! And being part of that can be fairly difficult when you’re sausageless. As if the industry’s not tough enough. That’s why we asked our good ol’ female buddy, Mel Peters, digital creative director at Lowe Sydney (http://lowesydney NULL.com), to give us her best advice on being a lady in a man’s world.

Junior: Do you personally find it tough to be a woman in this industry?

Mel: No I love it! It’s all about standing out with great ideas and that’s something I’m passionate about. A lot of people have been comfortable with male creatives because that’s what they’re used too. However, good ideas will always cut through no matter who you are.

Jr: Has there been a particular incident where you know your gender has worked against you? What about for you?

M: It’s how you look at things. For example, working on car accounts, I was the only female creative on the team. In this situation I always added a valuable and different perspective to briefs. I was able to approach the brand with really powerful insights that led to award winning creative. Taking the car ‘beyond the metal’ was a big part of creating innovative campaigns that engaged and empowered their audience. Female creatives can do amazing work on even the most ‘blokiest’ of briefs. There really is no boundary to what you can work on.

Jr: Why do you think it’s more difficult for women?

M: I think there has been a limited number of role-models and Senior Female Creatives in the industry and for young female creatives on the rise, this can be daunting. I’ve worked with strong female Creatives like Fiona Davidson and Paula Keamy who are both fantastic role-models. It is important to find these role models and seek advice along the way. Women have a great opportunity to lead in senior creative roles today and I see more and more talented young women choosing ‘creative’ as a positive career path.

Jr: Is there any other advice you have for women in or wanting to get into the industry?

M: Understanding your audience is key, and women are the primary purchase decision-maker for many brands in Australia. Female buying power hasn’t fully been tapped into in Australia, and there is a great opportunity for female creatives to lead this. Women are also powerful communicators, and as we continue to move into the digital world with influence marketing and social networking changing our traditional communication habits, women in the industry will bring great insight and creative ideas to the table. Ultimately though, it’s all about great thinking and powerful ideas.

And just cause she can, here’s Mel’s tips to success:

01- Believe in your ideas. Gain confidence in your thinking by exploring your ideas thoroughly before you talk to others around you.

02- Present, present, present your work. This is so important. Grab as many opportunities as you can to showcase your ideas yourself and get in front of clients, as often as you can.

03- Look for female mentors, if not in your agency, outside it. Some may have blogs or twitter feeds that will give you insight and spur you on. You can follow me here (http://twitter NULL.com/its_mel).

04- Hit the streets and do your own market research. Get to know your audience inside and out and become an expert in the briefs you get. If your agency celebrates big ideas based on powerful insights, you will shine.

05- Don’t be afraid to think of yourself as a brand and sell yourself. Getting your voice and point of view out there is a great place to start. I see many juniors who have put their folio online and started a blog. It’s a great way to make sure you are heard and noticed.

06- Have fun and enjoy what you do. If you love it, everyone will know.

Written by Junior
Originally posted on: 27/01/2010