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Blind Spots by RJ Brideson

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CHAPTER 2 ARE YOU BLIND?

Given the numerical dominance of women consumers, you'd be right in thinking organisations should be pretty gender aware already. After all, advertisers and marketers are responsible for knowing their target audiences inside and out, right?

Yet in my first 13 years of working in advertising agencies back in the 1990s, I saw and experienced firsthand so much bias, harassment and poor behaviour that it motivated me to create my own agency where ‘female vision' and basic respect for women were fundamental values. It seemed to me that if this wasn't how companies thought about and treated the women inside their organisation, how could they possibly empathise with women outside the business?

LACK OF INTELLIGENCE

The advertising industry (like broader business) att-racts its fair share of clever men and women yet they continue to lack the nuance of gender-intelligence to engage with evolved modern women, whether in their workforce or among their end-consumers.

In the United States in 2016, Gustavo Martinez, CEO of global advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, was left little choice other than to resign after a young woman complained about his behaviour.1 She alleged that he had made racially insensitive comments, suggested women needed a ‘good raping' and had grabbed a female employee by the throat ‘as a joke'.2

Leaders from J. Walter Thompson's ...

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