Tuesday, September 9, 2008

more mad women

Having been called out for omissions in my last post, by readers as authoritative as David Ogilvy, I'm adding a few names to my ad hoc compilation of Ad Broads Who Made History:

Paula Green began her career working as a copywriter for Seventeen magazine. After two years helping boost the young magazine's image and trying to change stereotypical perceptions of young women, she moved to the LC Gumbinner Agency. Then, noticing the work coming out of Doyle Dane Bernbach, she applied there and was hired as a copywriter. She was assigned to Avis and was appalled by their current campaign. It was, in her words, "a three-page logo." At the time, rental cars were shoddily cared for and maligned by customers who had to use them. Her first "We Try Harder" ads "were really creating an operating manual for the company saying you had to give customers a clean car, windshield wipers had to work, cars had to have a full tank of gas." When she extended the campaign to "Avis is only No. 2 in rent a cars. So why go with us?" many in the agency objected, feeling that No. 2 was a put-down. Green sent the research department to airports, etc. with the ads on 3 x5 index cards. Researchers came back to report that 50% of the people thought that No. 2 meant "not as good as." Bernbach asked, "What about the other 50%?", thus saving the campaign which, based on research results, they were able to sell to the client.

Green went on to become group head at DDB and its first woman creative management supervisor. By the end of 1969, having reached the highest position available to her there, she left to start her own agency, Green Dolmatch, partnering with her husband Murray Dolmatch. After eight years, the agency became Paula Green advertising, responsible for campaigns like "Goya Oh Boy-a!" for Goya foods in the 1980s. Her ad philosophy? "Girls smiling seductively from bathtubs appeal to art directors, not women customers."

Mary Fillius, a copywriter at the Weintraub agency wrote the Maidenform campaign that, over at Sterling Cooper, is getting knickers in a twist. The campaign was launched in August 1949 and ran for decades. It was instrumental in transforming unmentionables into undergarments.

One of David Ogilvy's key copywriters was Riva Fine who worked with art director Bill Binzen on Schweppes in the 1950s. They used the company's colorful chief executive in the ads--Edward Whitehead, a former Royal Navy Officer from WW2.

Rita Selden was a copywriter in Phyllis Robinson's group at Doyle Dane Bernbach. One day she was walking past the office of art director Helmut Krone and saw him staring at a photo of a VW. He told her that, somehow, it would make a great ad. Although the car (which wasn't called a Beetle until 1967) looked perfect to the naked eye, it had been rejected by VWs strict inspection team. "Why don't you just say 'Lemon'?" Selden suggested.

7 comments:

auntie Christ said...

Ah, Schweppervescence....

Nice posts! No shots of you during the Nixon administration snuck in here?

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Thanks, Auntie. Er--you mean Carter? No.

auntie Christ said...

Let's split the difference....Ford.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Ha. Actually, I do make an appearance of sorts during Kennedy. Look for me Sunday in opening credits of Mad Men.

David Ogilvy said...

Ms. Broad,

Thanks for adding Riva.

jenny said...

I love this blog. And it was the high point of a Sunday, far too much of which was spent stuck at work on an idea that just got killed in the end, anyway.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@Mr. Ogilvy-you're most welcome ;)

@jenny Thank you for your generous read. You've made my day. Er--week!