Monthly Archives: June 2011

Our cameo at Cannes :)

So….

Even though we didn’t get nominated for any awards this year, lali still made a small appearance at Cannes (a really big advertising award show).

The magazine distributed at the festival:

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And here we are on page 43!

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Soooo many thanks to Rob Schwartz and Patrick O’Neill for honoring us… we’re lucky enough to work at Chiat, let alone be recognized by you guys in front of our peers. There are a lot of talented young people here, and the fact that we came to mind in the first place is a surprise and a delight! We hope we can live up to the compliment by making good work that makes you and the agency proud :)

Oh and thanks to Chris MacNeil for sending us the pictures all the way from France (although we’re still jealous that you get to be in Cannes in person, and we only get to be there in pictures! Maybe next year…fingers crossed.) Congrats on all the great Pepsi Refresh Project work, hope you’re having a blast on the Riviera!

xo, li

PS
Here’s the full shot if you want to see how awkward we are as models. (I had to tan myself a little in photoshop once I saw my whiteness next to La. Sad but true.)

lali-laurensmith&lindseymontague

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Female Creatives in Advertising, the adgirls ponder the endless debate.

“85% of brand purchases are made by women, yet only 3% of advertising agency creative directors are women.”

Picture 1

(Tiffany Rolfe, among her Old Navy mannequins)

Last week, Tiffany Rolfe of CP+B wrote an interesting article for Creativity. Entitled: Female Creatives Need to Step Up and Promote. In response to the fact that she is always asked this question: Why aren’t there more female creative directors in advertising?

She doesn’t answer the question, necessarily. Instead, she poses a solution:

Women are hardwired to kick ass and nurture at the same time. But unfortunately the advertising business isn’t known for nurturing. It’s competitive, it’s fast and it’s filled with insecurities. We don’t want to be replaced by the newer, younger, better model.

But maybe if we were better mentors for young people, they’d see a reason to keep us around when we were past our prime. If there is one type of person who could both juggle their own life/work balance, as well as nurture new creatives, it’s women. Think about it — if every female creative in a management role could mentor and promote just five other women, each of those can help five more, and onward, and before long we’ll be in the hundreds. Call it a pay-it-forward meritocracy.

So, in a nutshell, she’s telling other women to be better mentors and to promote. She’s asking women to change the industry for other women.

Well, lali, being, as you know, “two adgirls trying to make it in a world of madmen,” has been sent this very article by many people. So we felt we needed to respond.

What’s it like being an adgirl?

When we first walked down the walkway of Chiat Day, we had a decision to make. Do we try to blend in with the boys? Or do we embrace our girliness? As you can guess by the subhead of our blog, we went with the latter. And we’re glad we did. It’s not because we’re being feminists, or we’ve got a chip on our shoulders, or because we want to use it as a way to climb some sort of ladder. It’s because that’s who we are.

And maybe it’s opened some doors and closed some others. It gives us an immediate cache, a one liner kind of personality to hang onto and to define us. Minus youngbloods, we’re the only girl/girl team in the building. It makes us stand apart. When presenting, our “girliness” tends to create an immediate level of comfort and openness.

On the flip side, sometimes being female creatives, we’re not taken as seriously. And our ideas aren’t either. And we have to be conscious of what we wear, and how that changes perceptions. When we look around an office full of talented women (less in number than men, but still better than a lone Peggy Olson), is it a coincidence that a lot of them are attractive? That fact could be a weapon or a curse.

At RPA, I got asked to work on a new account – La-Z-Boy – because they were targeting “women” buyers. And the client had specifically asked for female creatives. At Chiat, we were asked to work on Diet Pepsi (much to our delight), targeting midwest moms. Again, the client and agency specifically felt female creatives would have a better insight on that work. Maybe we did. But it doesn’t mean we couldn’t have just as many insights on college football, which we’ve worked on. Or a car targeted at millenial males. Which we’ve also worked on, and which also got me, the copywriter, condemned for being sexist. We’re just being chameleons, talking to different people – just as sincerely, but from different view points.

Does being a female creative make us better at that then male creatives? Worse? Or the same? I don’t have an answer. Maybe a blog reader will.

I can say that while we may have worked with an at-the-time female ACD, (xo Xanthe!) with a bunch of female teams, at the end of the day, men were responsible for the final creative work inside the agency and men were responsible for approving the work that got produced. Which leads to the next topic…

Why aren’t there more female creative directors?

As with anything, it’s probably a combination. And seeing as we aren’t creative directors and haven’t really been in the industry that long, we don’t hold the definitive answer on that subject. But I can sure write at length about it.

Babies. Probably the easiest thing at which to point our fingers, and rightfully so. We work long hours. We work hard hours. We never know when we’ll be here til 6p or 6a. And when you’ve got kids at home, it’s just a societal fact that women are more often the ones at home with them. Some by choice. Some by society’s programming. We can’t all be Margaret Keene, popping out a baby and then marching off to shoot a commercial.

WPP creative consultant Neil French said: “They [women] don’t work hard enough. It’s not a joke job. The future of the entire agency is in your hands as creative director. You can’t be a great creative director and have a baby and keep spending time off every time your kids are ill … Everyone who doesn’t commit themselves fully to the job is crap at it.

He then was forced to resign, but he still said it.

Was he right? Even if he could have phrased it better (the feminist in me prickles in indignation)? Or does it lead to another reason why there are far fewer female creative directors than males: Advertising is, still, a boys club. With more men at the top, it’s more up to men to promote and hire. And this industry isn’t gentle, it’s more cutthroat. Age-old prejudices about the simple fact that I may end up pregnant and on maternity leave and distracted whether I am now or not probably still exist. As well as the standard cliches about women as leaders. Not to be crass, but we’re either gentle and therefore weak or bitchy and therefore bitchy. Or our skirts are too short. I’m not saying I agree with these viewpoints, but maybe they still linger in the back of people’s minds, never voiced but ever present.

Or maybe it’s just that when there’s a bunch of boys around making jokes and coming up with ideas, they just GET other boys’ ideas better than they get girls’ ideas. Comfort and familiarity. Get-along-together-ability trumps talent every time.

So, do we as women not want the role of creative director? Or do the men not want us to have it? Or both. Inherently, in an industry that would create the environment where those questions would have to be asked, there’s a lot of work to be done to both answer it and change it.

So what do we do?

At our old agencies, we’d never worked with a female creative director. Why? Because there weren’t any. There were women who headed up departments, just not the creative department. So when we walked into Chiat Day, with giggles and lalipops and matching pink lamps, we were glad to find a whole host of female creatives, and a select few female creative directors.

So first, let’s celebrate our fellow adgirls. The CDs we’ve worked under. Margaret, for her undying dedication not just to her job (which is undeniable) but to loving everyone who works beside her as well (which is also undeniable). Xanthe, for her persevering quest to be the best creative director she can be. The partners we’ve had. Liz, for always being on top of it. Chelsea, for having an artist’s soul. Ariel, for being more than a partner, for being a best friend. To the beautiful and talented ladies of Chiat Day and Night, Shawna, Kristina, Suzanne, Mindy, Michelle, Helena, Kat, Denise, and more, who make great work but more importantly make this a great place to work.

And second, let’s not let our gender get in the way of ourselves. Stand up for ourselves if something’s unfair, but more importantly, just be ourselves and it’ll probably be more fair. Good creatives are good creatives regardless of whether they pee standing up or sitting down. And great advertising that comes from good insights is just that, great advertising. Whether it’s for tampons or beer. And remember, adgirls, we can make great ads for both.

The Tiffanys and Margarets and Xanthes have made things better for us. We can make things better for the girls behind us.

And while the fact that 97% of creative talent probably is NOT male (sorry guys), we can change it and change it we will.

In the meantime, we’re just gonna try and produce some work and have some fun. And listen to some Regina Spektor too.

xo,
la

PS For information, inspiration, questions and some answers, visit adwomen.org
Their quote: “If the great advance of the 20th century was the inclusion of women as equals in society, then an even greater advance in the 21st century will be the incorporation of women’s thinking.” Amen, sister.

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this new business pitch is hard work!

the good news: la and i have been working on a big new business pitch at chiat over the last few weeks :)

the bad news: la and i had to work on ideas for the big new business pitch over the weekend :(

the good news: i recently bought a house with a pool, which proved to be the perfect breeding ground for brilliant ideas on a sunny saturday!

we started of our day with some yummy pancakes and bacon. la taught me that cooking bacon in the oven is definitely the way to go, and i agree. mm mmm.

photo 1

a little later, samson jumped in the pool because his lab instincts made him want to retrieve the ball super bad.
tyler jumped in the pool because him mom threw him. hehe.

and if you’re wondering why la’s laugh sounds a bit cackly in this video, i believe it had something to do with a 90s party the night before and lots of singing (except she was the only person who didn’t know the words to fresh prince of bel air because her mom didn’t let her watch tv in the 90s).

once we had finished our pancakes, had successfully drenched the dogs, and were on our 3rd round of orange/peach/mango mimosas, we took a moment to concept for work. sadly, drinking cocktails isn’t the number one best way to make lali productive, as evidenced by the time la fed me an entire bottle of sake. but luckily, we fought off the giggles and put a few ideas on paper.

it lasted about 12 minutes before la was ready to throw the dogs back in the pool.

no but really, we were concepting the whole time.

then i suggested strawberries!

Strawberries In The Sun!

then we thought of a few more ideas.

then la got in the pool with samson.

then we sunbathed a little.

truly, it’s a wonder we had anything to present to bob and patrick yesterday. but we did, and they seemed happy enough, so all in all it was a great saturday in long beach!

to celebrate, we went to see florence + the machine last night at the greek. can you guess which one of us was florence and which one was a machine???

florence+machine

xo and back to work, no seriously this time,
li

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Movin’ On Up!

So…. Look at this sad little cube. It used to be full of all of our packrat crap. And now it’s empty…

new cube

Gone are the days of us lying on the floor to concept and people making weird comments, gone are the days of singing duets with Omeed, gone are the days of Samson barking at every dog that walks by…

Instead,

new cube

Hello to the third floor! We now sit in a hallway above some stairs with an eagle-eye view of the agency.
See?

new cube

(can you spot li?)
And now, we climb two flights of stairs to go anywhere, we can be far louder because we’re more isolated, we can sleep on the floor (errr concept on the floor!) without interruption and we’ve got a lot more wall space to decorate!

See us in our new space…

new cube

Now see our empty wall spaces!

new cube

new cube

Any suggestions for how we should decorate? We’re open to them! We’ve got three HUGE walls and we’d like to cover up the yellow as it makes our skin look sickly in this cave-like light…

Back to concepting!

xo from the third floor yellow shipping containers,
la

PS Even though we moved, some things are still the same…

The new view

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