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Ad Age, Women to Watch and a Duramax 6.6L V8

June 2, 2009


This week’s AdAge includes the annual “Women to Watch” list. Note Jenny Chisney‘s inclusion (nice!). Nearby is an article on GM. AdAge lined up creative directors and the like to share how they’d pitch the troubled automaker’s business. 11 experts weighed in. Each one a middle-aged white guy.

The juxtaposition of these 2 stories got me thinking about whether the advertising and marketing community relies too heavily on one demo to make the big decisions. So, a couple questions:

1. I appreciate middle age white guys. I may be one, depending on if I live past 74. I also won a dance contest in 3rd grade, so take that into account. Anyway, if we continue to make the lion’s share of ad decisions, forget fairness, is this good business?
2. Does Ad Age come off as patronizing by compiling a list of accomplished women, then lining up the men when they want an expert point of view? Possibly they chose men because of the subject matter, because, you know, women don’t drive cars, purchase cars, or understand the simple fact that in 2009 only a Duramax 6.6L turbo diesel V8 with 660 lb ft of torque is appropriate for your neighborhood landscaper to tow a lawn mower 4 blocks.
3. Let’s switch to age for a second. If you’re over 50 and working in an agency, you likely own the place. That’s a lot of experience on the sideline. Do we think they’re out of ideas, require too much money, or something else?
4. If we’re in charge, why are men in beer ads stone dumb? Don’t answer that.

Btw, here’s my caveat. I don’t read Ad Age closely enough to indict them for institutional sexism or any other ‘ism. Just using the stories to ask a question about the business.