TBWA Leaders Explain What It’s Like to Work in Advertising…as a Woman

By Patrick Coffee 

Since today is International Women’s Day, the TBWA organization chose what might be the best possible way to illustrate the challenges faced by women working in a certain industry. “Take the Lead” flips the script by collecting some depressingly familiar lines and having male executives read them.

Get ready to watch Lee Clow talk about how he’s “just not as powerful” as his (male) colleagues.

According to a corresponding tumblr page, this project has been more than six months in the making. TBWA decided last summer to “achieve a more balanced representation of women in leadership roles across offices” via workshops, events, mentorship programs and related efforts.


All that research led to the conclusion that provides this video’s tagline: “as long as women’s issues remain women’s issues, only women will care,” hence “women’s issues” must become every employee’s issues. They already are in that they affect everyone within a given network.

In a related LinkedIn post, TBWA Europe president Nicolas Bordas writes, “Clichés, prejudice, gender bias and inequality are still current, and yet, do we really hear these issues?”

The tumblr page also includes some quotes that didn’t make the video. The idea is to achieve a 20% rate of female leaders across the global TBWA network, though it’s not clear how much progress has been made at this time.

In case some dudes feel like they’ve seen/heard enough about International Women’s Day over the past few hours, there are 364 other days in any given year…