L’idea è venuta a Valentina Amenta, direttore creativo FCB Milan, o meglio, è stato grazie a lei che questo giro di microfoni è nato, alla ricerca di direttori creativi donna. Perché, diciamolo, era da tempo che youmark ci pensava, ma non sempre siete così palesi. E’ vero siete poche, ma in più, e qui magari un mea culpa va fatto, ve ne state un po’ in disparte. Non che le luci della ribalta siano sinonimo di valore, ma se non comunicate, il rischio è il calzolaio dalle scarpe rotte. Invece c’è bisogno di conoscervi. Dovete fare squadra, in nome di una professione e di un mercato che senza il vostro sguardo avrebbero molto da perdere. Tornado a Valentina, quindi, grazie per averci supportato nel segnalarci i vostri nomi e ne definire con noi delle domande che vogliamo porre a ognuna, intervista dopo intervista, sino a conoscervi tutte. E grazie anche a tutte oloro che ci stanno spontaneamente scrivendo allargando la portata della nostra ricerca.
Vi presentiamo Becky McOwen-Banks, Creative Director FCB Inferno.
Why are there less female creative directors than male ones?
“Wow – this is a biggie. It didn’t take seven series of mad men to show us that historically advertising always has been a boys club – with women viewed good enough for the typing pool but not for the full creative challenge. On top of which, the sexist language and long hours would not have made for a welcoming atmosphere for any female creative brave enough to make it through the interviews – so she may not have stuck around very long. There has also historically been a tendency to put girls on the ‘fluffier’ briefs – for charities, medical or fashion brands – whilst the chaps took the beer, car and technology opportunities, meaning our books did not necessarily contain the volume of big hitting client work that would be in the boys. We are also only lately becoming aware of such things as unconscious bias, which would have skewed how male and female candidates were viewed in interviews (men are viewed on potential as they remind the interviewer of how they were when they were coming in to the industry, whilst girls viewed on proof). All of these, and many other individual reasons add up to girls leaving the industry (despite representing 52% of art school graduates) which means there are fewer of us to make it up the ranks to CD level. And thats without even getting into having kids and the decisions that brings about. Until recently the ad industry decided it wanted identikit creatives – more of the same, thankfully we are now understanding that particularly in our industry diversity of experience is our life blood, making a difference to the quality of our ideas and to the bottom line of the agency”.
Although there are many women in this industry, why is it more unlikely for them to achieve high level roles? What would you change?
“Some things are slow to change – and that includes leadership’s view of itself. Unfortunately it is still viewed that women who have families will not be as committed to the role as a man (and many of the women at leadership level are at or have gone through family stage). Adherence to fuddy-duddy dogma that the leadership must be of one type and unbending in that view is holding the whole industry back. Unfortunately too many senior men view the provision and enabling of senior women as a zero-sum game and so as a threat (if I allow her to have power then I will have less). Rather than a plus-plus view which is borne out by research that in-fact enabling others allows everyone to be more productive and more successful.
What would I change? (rubbish film reference coming up!) I’d use a Men In Black neuralayzer to specifically erase the expectations of what a boardroom consists of. The removal of this cookie-cutter would release so much talent and energy into board level”.
In your personal experience, what is the greatest difficulty you have found and to whom or what do you give the credit to for having made it?
“One of the greatest difficulties I encountered was being the only female in a meeting or room means your work or opinions are viewed not as your own ideas and creation, but as the view of the entire gender. It was frustrating as my work or opinions were not being viewed on the same playing field as other ideas. It was like I was a representative advisory service rather than a living breathing creative brain in the room. It can still happen today – so watch out for it and when you encounter it, call it out”.
What is the campaign you are proud of the most and which is the one you would have liked to sign?
The campaign I am most proud of are my many smaller ones for the UK Home Office (Government). These are tiny campaigns to small segments of the UK community but each has a powerful message and need. They each needed approaching entirely differently and with the blessing and inclusion of community representatives all along the way. Whether it is anti-FGM or Forced marriages all such important work that needs to find its audience, change behaviour to ultimately change and save lives.
Work I would have loved to have done is Viva la vulva – it is so beautiful but with an industry changing message. The crafting level of this is superb and one that would have driven everyone on the team mad but was worth every minute”.
“I am mid-way putting myself through an MBA at Berlin School of Creative Leadership – so lots of challenges coming up there, but am loving learning again and the amazing people I meet along the way. And first thing tomorrow morning I am off to HQ of our biggest client BMW to present some great work on a new brief no other auto brand has cracked yet – so keep your fingers crossed for me”.
Chi è Becky McOwen-Banks
I’m a creative director with over 17 years ad industry experience of nurturing, building and running award-winning creative departments, whilst creating and pitching all manner of impactful creative. I’m currently at FCB Inferno (UK) working across the client mix and new business opportunities – from multi-platform to digital innovation. And I’ve gathered a few awards to my name to prove it.
I believe in the power of creative thinking, creative problem solving and creative leadership to change a business. My curiosity and ambition continues as a scholarship-winning eMBA student at Berlin School of Creative Leadership.
Proud to have been a judge for D&AD (Art Direction 2016 & 2018), IPA Women of Tomorrow, Drum Dream awards, Creative circle, Creative Pool, Creative circle Gold jury, D&AD New Blood, Cannes Young Lions (iAPI) and Creative Conscience. Also shortlisted for World’s most creative women 2017. I’ve been a speaker at Cannes Lions 2018, TEDx, IPA, EffWeek, AdWeek, IPA (Scotland), GroupThink, The Ivy Club and many, many more. I’m even on a podcast or two for D&AD and the IPA, and am published in a book: Eat Your Greens
An active member of the creative community I work with many initiatives for change: SheSays from its small beginnings in London & in Sydney, piloting The Girlhood, IPA Talent & Leadership committee, The Girl Effect (Rwanda) or Creative Equals. On the council for SheSays and a mentor again for Who’s Your Momma here in London as well as the only female CD on the IPA Council in its 100 year history!
I keep the need for greater diversity in the search for better creative work, front and centre.