After a short couple of seconds of trying to get our mobiles to work appropriately, Laura Rogers and I agree that we’re losing our telephone skills. I ‘d selected the medium as a reprieve from Zoom and Teams and the rest of them– but after a year of seeing faces on screens a call seems positively antiquated.
However, I remain delighted with my choice, since Laura has a slight Canadian accent that’s gives a positive cadence to her thoughts. She started her career in Toronto as a copywriter at an agency called Zig Concepts. “It was the type of place where everyone would like to start their advertising profession– a play area of fun and creativity,” she recalls. After posts at Downtown DDB and TBWA Toronto, she “legged it” to London in 2010 to deal with Dove at Ogilvy & Mather.
Although she’s been at adam & eveDDB given that 2018, it’s suitable to point out Dove and its support for “real women” here, due to the fact that my mission is to speak with Laura about She Takes control of. Originally influenced by International Women’s Day last March, the initiative supporting female imaginative skill is now in its second year.
“Diversity is certainly part of the conversation at agencies now, however so frequently, while we wish to achieve diversity, and while we wish to offer a voice to under-represented cultures and neighborhoods, we don’t actually know how to do that. And the ‘how’, the useful side of it, was what captivated me.”
An ABUNDANT RESOURCE
She ‘d noted that whenever a new job was available in the door and the names of ideal directors, photographers and so on were stimulated, they tended to be from the very same familiar friend– and primarily male.
“I thought that this was perhaps something we might resolve, since it’s everything about presence and knowing the work. And the fact is that as an innovative individual you really wish to know who’s new, what’s up-and-coming, what intriguing stuff is out there– but you do not constantly have time explore as commonly as you ‘d like.”
The days when you were complimentary to check out galleries or discover young filmmakers at the movie theater as part of your work are long gone– if indeed they ever existed. “Personally, from the start of my profession, I’ve constantly been ranging from one thing to another.”
However even promoting people have time to get on social networks periodically. “It struck me that this would be a really excellent way of increasing presence for those who may be overlooked. Since as a company we have that presence– people follow us on Instagram; and not just us, but all companies. So what if we used our social currency and gave that to individuals who needed it for the month of March?”
Throughout the month, the firm’s Instagram feed is a showcase for female talent: professional photographers, composers, illustrators, directors and animators. “We have actually also attempted to broaden the gallery to include trans-gender and non-binary people.”
Other firms and organisations have actually followed suit– and out-of-home marketing giant Clear Channel donated multiple websites, “so that the work is being seen not simply in the industry, but out in the world too”.
There’s also a standalone @shetakesover Instagram feed that runs year-round. “Due to the fact that of course this can’t just be for the month of March. Among my favourite features of running the job is that I get to take a look at everything– so it’s ended up being an abundant resource for me, due to the fact that there are numerous terrific people on it.”
This in turn can have a positive influence on the company’s work, she notes. “This is a variety job– but it’s also about imagination, because I believe the more we utilize different voices and different developers to make our work, the more intriguing it becomes.”
“AS A FEMALE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, I KNOW THERE AREINADEQUATE OF ME”
I question aloud how Laura has actually seen mindsets evolve during her own career as a female creative. “We’re definitely talking even more about diversity than we did twenty years ago,” she states. “However I was fortunate in that my very first firm was run by two female imaginative directors, so although I knew it was unusual, it never ever struck me that I could not end up being a creative director or run an agency.”
A problem persists at the senior level, nevertheless. “A great deal of girls enter into the market, however the retention levels are still unsatisfactory. As a female innovative director, I understand that there aren’t enough of me! That’s because, as an industry, we do not develop the conditions for women to flourish in. It’s really challenging to stabilize family life and work life, for example. Some ladies pull out. And it’s our market that suffers– due to the fact that when everybody is the same, there’s a risk that the work gets repetitive too.”
Thinking back to Dove, I ask her if she feels the representation of women in the media– particularly glossy publications– is ending up being more nuanced. “Well, Dove was ground-breaking in its position against retouching and its depiction of different kinds of beauty. But I think publications have actually become more forward-thinking: at VogueUK alone, editor Edward Enninful is doing a great job bringing various kinds of people onto the cover and into its pages.”
As someone who puts images out into the world, she knows that unrealistic representations of females “eventually make them feel bad”. “And why would you believe you can sell anything by making individuals feel bad?” Among the fantastic things about social media, she adds, is that brands and publications that cross the line can be called out by consumers. “They can be held responsible. We didn’t have that power in the 90s.”
But Laura isn’t content with helping creative females– she wishes to assist her fellow innovative directors too. She’s establishing a programme called “How To Be An Imaginative Director”. “Due to the fact that there’s a real modification when you move from being an innovative to a creative director– and nobody really tells you how to do that.”
New abilities are needed of you: handling people, giving guidance and feedback. For the moment the training will be simply internal, but Laura sees it as something she might potentially take beyond the agency. “The concept is to help innovative directors feel more positive in their own skins, so they can be the best variations of themselves.”
She certainly seems to relish belonging to DDB: a copywriter at heart, she talks enthusiastically about the Costs Bernbach period and its snappily-penned print advertisements. At the other end of the spectrum, she enjoys to do work that “expands what we think advertising needs to be”– like the project for seller Argos that involved putting out 80 ten second ads in 80 days.
Right now, though, she’s keen to focus on the work of others– in the form of She Takes control of. The message to firms is clear: if you want to accomplish variety, you can at least start by relying on Instagram.