Presumptive presidential nominee Donald J. Trump makes headlines for pretty much everything he does or says, from arriving at an airport on his branded jet to claiming that Trump Steaks is still in business. But his comment last month that "the only thing [Hillary Clinton's] got going is the woman's card" inspired more attention than most.
The Clinton campaign responded days later by offering an "Official Woman Card" for sale on its website. But a group of advertising art directors and designers from around the world went a bit further: They are creating an entire deck of "Woman Cards" in order to "turn negatives into positives by calling out damaging gender stereotypes."
Maddy Kramer spearheaded the project. The senior art director at VML Kansas City has always been passionate about gender equality, and Trump's comments inspired her and other creatives. She tells Adweek, "We knew we had to respond and be fun about it."
"The first idea," Kramer says, "was, How do we make this? We really liked the idea of making all the cards queens, because we believe that every person who contributes to society and makes things better for other people is a queen."
She adds: "We made Trump the joker because he is a joke."
Kramer created a Google doc listing the names of culturally notable women and invited others to participate. After she reached out to former colleagues and classmates at Miami Art School and Austin's LatinWorks, the group grew to 28 designers and illustrators located everywhere from New York to London to Spain to Kramer's native Argentina.
"We used social networks," she says, "A lot of people came forward to say, 'Hey, I can make one!' A Spanish blog about women in the ad industry then posted on it, and a few more people wanted to be a part of the project."
The list of women featured on the cards also soon began to expand.
"We started by picking women from all around the world because we are a multicultural group," Kramer says. "We then opened the spreadsheet and decided that every industry should have a representative."
The deck eventually came to include names ranging from Frida Kahlo and Malala Yousafzai to Michelle Obama, Beyoncé and the ad industry's own favorite advocate, Cindy Gallop.
"Everyone used their own style to showcase each illustrator's way of defining the woman in question," Kramer says. "And everyone has their own view politically. I don't know who they are voting for and many don't even live in the States. It's more about what we believe."
That said, Hillary Clinton has already made her appearance—and the final deck will include such notable figures as Sheryl Sandberg, Melinda Gates, Queen Elizabeth, Harriet Tubman, Cleopatra and motivational speaker/Marfan Syndrome advocate Lizzie Velásquez.
The project addresses a timeless subject made more topical by Trump's outsized presence. "Him being so direct makes people think about it more," Kramer says. "We see it as something we don't just want to talk about; we actually want to do something. There's been a lot of conversation but not a whole lot going on."
Kramer and her partners hope to begin selling the deck within the next month or so, launch a fundraising effort and eventually send all revenue to a nonprofit organization like the United Nations' Fund for Gender Equality.
Will the Trump folks notice, or will they be too busy making anti-Clinton Instagram ads?
John Dávila Morris
José Gabriel Miranda