Janet Kestin Weighs In On The Neil French Firestorm

Janet Kestin is a Creative Director at Ogilvy Toronto. She works alongside Nancy Vonk, whose comments about the Neil French event got the brouhaha going.
We haven’t heard much from Nancy since Neil offered his resignation last week, but today, on I Have An Idea, Janet throws in her 2 cents. And she’s right on. Two snippets for you:

It’s embarrassing how slowly we change. Of course, advertising isn’t unique. Many industries think like ours. And women’s progress is slow everywhere. The systems of business were created by men and large numbers of women in the workforce is a comparatively new phenomenon. In the past, if women wanted to succeed they behaved like men. Now, 60% of the students graduating from universities are women. They are the new intellectual capital and they’re not so willing to change. Every day, there are articles about how business is trying to become more liveable, more humane in order to keep the best employees. A lot of those employees are now women. Sabbaticals, training, heck, even yoga, are making their way into the halls of corporate life – or what I might call nouveau corporate life. It dares to suggest that you can succeed in business without giving everything else up.
Let’s all get a grip: advertising is a thinking job. It doesn’t require being tied to a desk. It can be done before breakfast, and after tucking in. What it does require is having a brain and the last time I looked women had at least as many of those as men.

Incidentally, this entire episode was picked up on Fox News, and in hundreds of newspapers throughout the world. If Advertising Week was Woodstock, this sure looks like Altamont. And doesn’t WPP have a few thousand PR folks on its payroll, a few of whom could mop up this mess for their own company?



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.