5 Female Influencers in Advertising: Then and Now
In celebration of National Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting some of advertising’s greatest female creatives who changed the industry, and those who are making their mark in the industry now — all through their limitless imagination and talent.
Helen Lansdowne Resor
In the early 1900s, the amazing Helen Lansdowne Resor led the “Women’s Editorial Department,” at the J. Walter Thompson agency, which was a copywriting team that consisted of feminists. Resor is credited with being the first person to create ads that had a feminine point of view. Her most famous and praised work is for the Woodbury Soap campaign, “A Skin You Love to Touch,” which is considered the first ad to use sex appeal. She also changed ad copy by playing off of consumers’ emotions, rather than solely focusing on a product’s benefits and features.
Mary Wells Lawrence
Known for bringing big and bold ideas to campaigns, Mary Wells Lawrence was sought after by the elites of advertising in the 1950s and ’60s. She worked at some of the most innovative ad agencies in New York City before opening her own in 1966. Her agency, Wells Rich Greene, had 100 employees and $39 million in billings within its first year of opening. From making headlines with a previously unknown airline to reviving New York City’s image with the “I ♥ New York” campaign, Lawrence was one of the most powerful players in advertising at that time.
Not many people know that one of the most famous logos of all time, the Nike logo, was designed by a woman by the name of Carolyn Davidson. She was in college in 1971 when the co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight, contracted her work for only $35. That’s right folks, the Nike logo that has been praised around the world for decades cost next to nothing to create, and a young woman did it.
Jessica Hische is a letterer, illustrator, and type designer that works in Brooklyn and San Francisco. She gives others in her niche a run for their money with her impeccable technical precision and her striking style that is both whimsical and jovial. She has done work for clients such as Wes Anderson, a film director with a very unique and recognizable style who is regarded by many as a modern-day auteur.
Specializing in graphic design for filmmaking, Dublin-based Annie Atkins creates graphic props and set pieces, such as pastry packages, postage stamps, and banknotes for Wes Anderson’s film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Annie says that one of the exciting things about her line of work is that at times it feels like a secret world and other times she feels like a master forger, like when she created fake passports for Steven Spielberg’s film, Bridge of Spies.
This was our short and sweet list of incredibly talented women in advertising, so we may have missed some of your favorites. If so, tell us who inspires you through their work in the comments below.