The 3% Conference hypes itself as “a first-ever event for female creative directors.” MultiCultClassics originally noted the affair last January, when it was still in the early stages of conception. Nine months later—on September 27 in San Francisco—the gal gala is ready to arrive.
The official website bemoans the dearth of dames in the advertising industry and wonders, “[Why] is the most powerful consumer segment in the world—women—not being marketed to from a place of understanding?” Conference creator Kat Gordon “connected the lack of good advertising to women to the lack of women creating that advertising.” The event name, incidentally, was inspired by the fact that only 3% of creative directors are female.
As MultiCultClassics pointed out in January, it’s a safe bet the figures for minority creative directors are much lower than 3%—and minority female creative directors are even more invisible. Indeed, the event speakers’ photos appear to confirm matters. Hell, men might have greater representation in the lineup than minority female creative directors.
It continues to be difficult to rally behind the conference cause. Sorry, but White women are not minorities in the industry. In certain departments, they constitute a majority. Sure, the numbers are low for female C-suite executives and creative directors. Yet Karen Mallia—slated to speak at the event—provided perspectives to explain the figures. Neil French did too. Additionally, many White adwomen insist the glass ceiling is not an obstacle on Madison Avenue.
It’s interesting that Gordon is emulating multicultural marketing to build her platform. For example, she declared, “Having women creating advertising is not a gender issue, it’s a business issue.” She went on to say, “In a world where ad dollars have to work harder than ever before, brands know they cannot woo the gatekeepers of $4.3 trillion of spending by using messaging crafted—or green lighted—almost solely by men. Companies that demand female representation on their accounts will win with customers. And agencies that get smart about retaining female talent will win with clients.”
If Gordon’s argument nets the same response that minorities making similar statements have received over the years, well, The 3% Conference will be a 100% waste of time.