Spikes Asia 2014: “Clients want more women on board as they feel they understand the audience” - JWT’s Polly Chu

Agency to introduce 'Helen Lansdowne Resor Scholarship' for women across markets, including India

Sep 26, 2014 11:09:00 AM | Article | Raahil Chopra

Valerie Cheng and Polly Chu, CCOs of JWT Singapore and Beijing, respectively, spoke on Day Two of Spikes Asia about ‘The creative curve: The rise in female leadership in Asian Advertising’.


Cheng said in jest that like 'integration', this topic too could get boring if repeated across conferences.


Chu added, “It’s not about equal rights or who’s more creative (men or women), or through which part of the body we think. Today is about reality. Clients want more women on board as they feel they understand the audience.”


The duo presented some statistics on how the role of women has changed. In India, 74 per cent of the women make the decision of buying a home appliance by themselves, while 55 per cent make their car purchase decision by themselves, she said.


But, 89 per cent of the women feel that brands could do more to connect with today’s women in advertising, added the speaker.


They further spoke about the Pink Dove campaign. “Women are now not only seen by guys as beautiful, but we now need to feel beautiful ourselves. They say men are from Mars and women from Venus, and we do see things differently and experience things differently.”


Some ads which portrayed women in the right light were showcased, starting with a fun video by Buzzfeed.



More serious advertising followed.


P&G, Always – Be Like a Girl


P&G, Best Job


Labels Against Women – Pantene


Dream Rangers – TC Bank


This was a commercial that didn’t promote the female gender, but humanity. It was the most viewed video in China, they noted.


Three-point agenda


After the showcase, Chu said, “Only three per cent of the creative directors in advertising are women and I don’t like that. Hence, I ask you’ll to make three actions. Firstly, make a conscious decision to hire a woman in your organisation next. Secondly, figure whether your work culture is conducive for everyone (men and women) to have a more balanced life. Women make a big choice sometimes of either family versus career and that’s why a woman working in the industry is highly passionate about her job. Thirdly, open up programmes to hire more women. We are launching the Helen Lansdowne Resor Scholarship in that regard.”


Chu said that the scholarship will be rolled out in India as well.


The session ended with Cheng quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, “A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”