Women are 50% of the world’s population. But only 3% of all creative directors.

3 Percent poster by Bryan Miguel

Women make or influence 85% of all purchasing decisions, and purchase over 50% of traditional male products, including automobiles, home improvement products and consumer electronics.” And even though women account for $7 trillion in consumer and business spending in the US – and eventually will control 66% of consumer wealth within the next decade – a 2010 Forbes survey shows that 91% of women believe advertisers don’t understand them.

It’s not to say that women aren’t in advertising. Walk through the halls of Bader Rutter and you’ll see that there are plenty of passionate female advertisers. Dr. Jean Grow, Associate Professor of Strategic Communication at Marquette University, studied gender segregation in the ad industry across the globe. Her findings show that about half of all advertising employees are women, but they generally dominate lower occupational positions across all departments and occupy 19.5% of all upper management positions. Creative, however, was far less.

This is where the 3% Conference comes in.

Kat Gordon, Creative Director with 20+ years of experience, founded the conference to create awareness about the discrepancy. She started by researching why the ratio is so skewed and discovered that female creatives suffer from a, “lack of support for motherhood, lack of mentorship, lack of awareness that femaleness is an asset to connecting to the consumer marketplace today, lack of celebration of female work due to gender bias of award juries, lack of women negotiating their first agency salary and every one thereafter.”

So why is it this way? Dr. Grow said in an interview with the Milwaukee Adworkers, “Men tend to hire men. As the majority of CDs are men, it perpetuates a boys’ club in creative. Mind you, I, and many of the women I interviewed, don’t think men’s biased hiring practices are necessarily conscious.”

Cindy Gallop, former chairman of BBH New York, has noticed the practice in the workplace. “Men feel more comfortable working with, hiring, promoting and co-founding agencies with other men, and they do this unconsciously. Working with/hiring/promoting/co-founding with women is uncomfortable—because we’re ‘other.’”

The 97% agrees. Michael Slade, Partner and HR Director at Eric Mower + Associates, in an article with AdAge states, “The advertising industry is an incestuous one; agencies overwhelmingly hire from each other.” He goes on to mention that ad agencies generally fail at generating basic awareness with college students about jobs and internships. And among the general public, there’s a minimal understanding of what advertising careers are like. This low awareness keeps the talent pool relatively limited from the beginning and the effect snowballs into more senior roles. For an industry that’s expected to generate $603.1 billion in 2015 through communication for organizations of all sizes, we don’t know how to talk about ourselves.

Since it’s inception in 2012, the conference has gained significant traction throughout the industry and has earned significant support and sponsorships from big name sponsors such as Adobe, Communication Arts, The Advertising Club of New York, DDB, Wells Fargo, the 4A’s, McCann Worldgroup and many more.

So why would a young professional from the 97% take interest in this? Diversity.

Advertising is a reflection of our understanding of culture. It’s not a numbers game. It’s not just about gender. Or race. Or creed. Or age. Or disciplines. Or interests. Or socioeconomics. There’s so much more to people than what demographics say about us. What we’ve seen and experienced in life are major influences and inspirations to our creative vision. And though we can research and sympathize with different perspectives, we’re still seeing everyone else’s view of the world through our own lens. Gender, race, creed and so on only present an opportunity for different lifestyles.

Jeff Goodby, industry legend and founder of Goodby Silverstein + Partners, when Adweek asked about the importance of diversity replied, “Obviously, one of the things we do is advertise to a wide range of people, and our clients want us to do that. And the only way to really do that is to actually have those people present and have them contribute to the solution of advertising problems.”

We need diversity in advertising. New ideas are the result of mixing old ideas together. But if we have people from completely different backgrounds, you have a lot more old ideas to play with. So the more diverse our perspectives, the more ways we can look to solve a problem.

So where do we go from here?

Hiring to meet quotas isn’t the answer. Talent and accomplished portfolios will remain the best measures of a good creative. Cindy Gallop suggests, “Actively search out the talent overlooked in your agency because it doesn’t fit pattern matching. Tell recruiters you want to see an equal number of brilliant male and female candidates for every brief. Demonstrate publicly that you’re part of the New Creativity. You’ll attract the best women—and the best men.”

And to address the future as well as the issues Michael Slade has raised, we need to spark interest in College students about our field and fan the flames to ignite a whole new generation of creativity. After years of mentoring and fostering great talent, we can pass the torch to a generation that’s as diverse as they are talented.

The 3% conference is focused on the underrepresentation of women. But it’s a catalyst for the larger issue of a lack of perspective through homogeneity. As advertisers, we ask our clients and partners to support ideas that stand out from the rest. Let’s embrace the same philosophy and harvest ideas that aren’t business as usual.


Life’s a Game

Marquette Colleges Against Cancer

An event that promotes an event is the best way to describe Paint Marquette Purple.

Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) is everything I learned while working at another nonprofit (Ronald McDonald House) except ran by people who are still learning and exploring the business. It’s fantastic what a group of inexperienced college kids throw together – with a little bit of heart from volunteers and some helpful guidance from an American Cancer Society ambassador – Relay for Life (the end goal) is always a huge success.

Let’s start with the point of CAC – to raise funds for cancer research. Fundraising is done all year by different relay teams, and the successes and efforts are recognized in one large, overnight celebration filled with activities, announcements, speakers, food, and praise from cancer survivors known as Relay For Life. The organization also does its own fundraising through different events like Bowling for Boobs, Dodge for Balls, and many more. All of these are all mini promotions for Relay for Life.

At this day and age, everyone knows about cancer. It’s nearly impossible to not know about it. There are hundreds if not thousands of organizations that contribute in funding cancer research. Though they are all started with the same purpose in mind, each organization is treated like a brand. CAC is no different.

Paint Marquette Purple’s end goal is to have people connect emotionally to CAC and Relay, to show that the entire campus believes that one day cancer will be defeated completely. Student hopefuls are not alone.

Every year CAC has a theme. In the marketing world, this is how a brand connects to the people. In the nonprofit world, it’s what sounds like fun but has a promotable message. Having content, CAC reached out to me to connect the dots creatively. We’re all players in life, but like a board game we are vulnerable to chance. Some people are just luckier than others. Life isn’t treated the same way a game is played though – there are no winners, just people trying to stay in the game. This is where the idea behind this piece takes place – we may not know what the dice will do, but we know what we can do for others.

Paint Marquette Purple

Let me know what you think below,



BaristaPizza GuyWaiter
Think back to your college days. Chances are you probably struggled with money and your health. The free gym membership was a plus, but the cheap booze and new freedom wasn’t.

DRxUGS is a pharmacy student organization at Drake University where they manage the events and activities of other pharmacy-oriented groups. They created an event where they give expensive tests, like blood glucose and cholesterol, all for free. These tests at a general physician can cost up to a couple thousand bucks. What DRxUGS is doing really provides the ability to be checked for future issues while saving the extra beer money.

What was the thought behind it?

Thinking about the demographic, I was really curious about how to amp a college student to see the potential and usefulness in an event like this. Sure, the healthy route is popular, but college kids already know the importance of being healthy and still do the unhealthy things they do. In my experience, I’ve noticed that free things can really push people to get off the couch – free T-shirts, redbull, vitamin water, whatever it may be as long as it’s free.

Then I thought, well how do I take this idea and go through the side door rather than the front. People are expecting the term “Free” to be front and center – but everything is like that nowadays. Other than college students, Doctors are really affected by the missing income – not just from the free health screenings, but down the road where people may be healthier because they catch these issues early on and work to prevent it. So how about the out of work doctor who does the work of the average college student. It’s relatable and unexpected. Doctors are usually coined with a pristine profession – a career with an incredible amount of job security. But that security is based on our health. No more problems? No more doctors.

It’s an extension that is a little farfetched, but at the same time, I’m not promising that there won’t be a need for doctors, but more so that the student benefits without having to break the bank.

Feel free to let me know your opinions,


A little school work…

First I’d like to apologize for promising the daily double and just not getting around to it. But I do have a surprise for you readers (hello?). This is a little work of my own that I had to do. I was asked to write blog posts in the eyes of a particular demographic that I’m not a part of by first integrating myself into their lifestyle. I chose Graduate Student Waiters. I know not a big jump from my daily life, but given the time period and amount of money and other things going on during the time I had to write and research (spring break) I had to pick something manageable. So here it is.

Standing at the Table

The product in mind is a stylish slip-resistant shoe for waiters and waitresses. These restaurant employees work in an environment that has two polar opposite worlds – a presentable area open to the general public and a private loud and stressful region that can be often found wet and messy. These 23 to 29-year-old graduate students play multiple active personas at work – an unparalleled friendly face to the public and a stressed-out, often-annoyed character in the backroom. Though these students’ schedules are busy between school and work, they find time to play and often enjoy going out on the town with their coworkers.

This research is a product of observation and interview at multiple locations. The first location was the Cheesecake Factory in Bayshore Mall during dinner service on March 10th. The next location was Marquette University’s Annex during the second round NCAA tournament game on March 18th. The last restaurant visited was Stubby’s Pub and Grub during the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament on March 20th.

The experience was interesting to say the least. I started out small and observed a friend working at Cheesecake Factory and interviewed her about life as a waitress and how she became one while she was tending to my table and others. I then went to the Annex for more research. Knowing the managers from my work with the Annex as a marketing assistant, I asked to wait a table. They could not let me because of several different concerns, but they granted me the ability to shadow a server. The last experience at Stubby’s was solely observation and I made sure to take information from my past research experiences to take note as to how our server treated us in relation to other restaurant staff in different sections of the restaurant.

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Man, oh man. Anyone else have those rough first days on the job? It seems things were easier when I was simply stressing on about memorizing the menu and coming up with a couple “favorite” menu items of mine. The boss told me he would keep things easy for me and limit me to only one table for the first two hours. Surprise, surprise, the whole world decides they want a barbeque sandwich from my place for lunch. I stuck to one table for maybe the first half hour. By their order was on the table, I had second, then a third, then a fourth. They had the new guy stretched on four tables, how often does that happen? I was pushed into the daily life quick, but you know what? That special time of day when you sign off and tip out, makes it all worth it. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

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Restaurant food ambassadors – you work in two different worlds. You run the food from the slippery kitchens to the expecting eager receivers. Look good and don’t slip check out @Shoesforcrews.

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I’m not sure whether I’m serving food at the restaurant or entertaining crowds for Barnum and Bailey. With the skills I’m learning from running around with plates, cups, and trays all day I could be a professional juggler at the circus. I swear, even if the backroom floor is nice, clean, and dry there is no grip whatsoever. Grabbed the tray and went on my way to the dining floor. Took two steps and slid the rest of the way to the door. On the dining floor, tried to hold my stupid grin while trying not to topple over. The kids at the table thought I was dancing over to them, but I guess that’s all part of the job. At least I didn’t drop a plate like I did earlier this week – Just gotta remember to keep the smile on. Happy folks mean a happy wallet mean a happy weekend.

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Step, step, slide… It’s happens all the time. Worst fear is balancing the soups, salads, and coffee while it all goes on. Get the grip, check out @Shoesforcrews.

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It was just one of those days… again. Has anyone else ever have those unintentional late nights because THAT table never wanted to leave? Twenty minutes before we could close up shop, a group of five was seated at my table. Generally people who come this late are considerate and pick up the check at a decent hour. My coworkers were already closing off their sections and finishing up with their rolls of silverware. I kept my poker face and smiled that perfect smile, while I rolled my silverware in the corner. It was over half an hour past closing time and these guys were still ordering drinks. The kitchen staff were not being subtle, you could hear the clinging and clanging of them cleaning shop from the parking lot. The bartender and I sat there watching them enjoy their night as we pondered about what we were missing on with our coworkers already out on the town. First time I handed them the check, they asked for me to hold onto it when they order more to drink. It was later now and I was already pulling away empty glasses. I could only talk, entertain, and flirt with them for so long. I even pondered the idea of being rude. Maybe if I was just rude, I could already be on my way out the door and enjoying what the city had to offer this close to midnight. To my surprise, they called and asked for the check and I smiled my way over, but this time a genuine smile of relief. I was this much closer to being legitimately happy rather than putting up a front and pretending. Maybe this is why so many actors and actresses wait tables on the side. Those girls ended up leaving me a hefty tip and even a phone number. I put on another genuine smile – I have a feeling that tonight is going to be a good night. As late as it was, the night was still young for what I had planned.

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How do you measure a good day of work? Easy shift? Higher tips? Making it through the day safely? Put up the hashtag #DailyGrind and respond back to @ShoesForCrews.

Hope you enjoyed it, maybe find it insightful?

-Bryan Miguel