Eight young women from the advertising profession reply to the following questions:
1. How and why did you get into advertising?
2. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
3. Do you think advertising is a woman friendly profession?
Creative Director, Lowe & Rauf
Length of tenure in the profession: 6 years
1. I grew up with grandiose fantasies of being a famous artist, painting along the Thames and getting rave reviews in
. Unfortunately my attention span, or rather the lack thereof, made it impossible for me to keep my passion alive for a single work over a period of weeks. After assessing my options, I switched to advertising. I get to be passionately creative and then move quickly on to being equally passionate, sometimes six times a day, all the while switching from one medium to the next. What’s not to love? Paris
2. Ideally: working on my novel. Realistically: in an ad agency still loving my work.
Dream sequence: married to a super rich older man living the life of leisure and luxury!
3. Absolutely! In all departments, creative, account management, media, I see women performing brilliantly. In fact, as women can think simultaneously with both sides of the brain, we almost have the advantage. Our innate understanding of aesthetics, emotional sensitivity and maturity, natural flair for drama, and instinctive handling of egos all contribute to making us better advertising professionals.
Sara Amjad Qureshi
Planning & New Relationship Development Manager, Lowe & Rauf
Length of tenure in the profession: 6.5 years
1. I started out as an aspiring brand manager, worked for a local FMCG company for nearly two years but found it rather stifling; you are confined within one sector and it just gets stale after a while. Pure boredom led me to an opening in an ad agency, where I soon realised how much hard work was involved! Strategy planning was a great fit for me, and the rest, as they say…
2. That’s a tough question. Strategy planning is still in its infancy in our profession so there is definitely room for growth. I see myself sticking to this field and growing within it rather than trying to go back to the ‘other side’.
3. Absolutely. I think it’s a result of the skills needed in our profession. Creativity, flexibility, fantastic people skills and teamwork are all well within the forte of women. In my experience I find the more women there are within the agency, the more successful it is.
Creative Director, Adcom
Length of tenure in the profession: Almost 10 years
1. I had enrolled as a textile designer; while making the hundredth repeat pattern of a motif in the second week at IVS (
of Art & Architecture), I wondered if I could do this for the rest of my life and had half a heart attack! My school also offered advertising as a part of the curriculum and I loved that and that’s when I decided to switch. Indus Valley School
2. Five years is a long time and I don’t know where I will be next year. I believe that I will quit the day I am not enjoying what I do. And until now it’s been extremely challenging and fabulous. Let’s see how long it lasts!
3. Be it advertising or any other profession, the fact is that working women in
are still not received that well. However, after almost 10 years in advertising and balancing a married life and two kids, my answer would be that it’s up to any woman to face the professional challenges and make any profession female friendly. It is high time we stopped objectifying ourselves as sympathetic beings who need protection from the cruel world. Pakistan
Associate Director, Account Management, Synergy Advertising
Length of tenure in the profession: 4.5 years
1. I was in Grade 6 when I discovered that the ads I saw on TV had a whole team of people working on them. Ever since, advertising fascinated me. I thought this would be the one job where I would actually wake up in the morning every day and feel like going to work. With this in mind I completed my relevant studies and joined a medium sized multinational agency as a creative executive. Somewhere along the way, I felt account management would be much more challenging, so I switched over. I think it would be safe to say that I am a happy advertising person since then!
2. I want to set up my own shop and provide 360-degree communication solutions to a broad range of local and international clients. In five years time I should hopefully have at least started operations with one or two clients on board.
3. Absolutely. The amount of respect and cooperation that I have received from my clients and colleagues during my short yet rewarding time span in the profession confirms that. Having said that, it is also the attitude of every individual, be it male or female, that determines how ‘friendly’ the environment of a particular profession is. The right set of attitudes includes positivity, willingness to take initiatives, ownership and above all patience.
Creative Director, Adetude
Length of tenure in the profession: 3.5 years
1. Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved writing and coming up with completely random stories and ideas, so the creativity bug has always been there. Then in college, I realised that advertising was my outlet for all the crazy ideas.
2. There is so much potential for radical ideas in
, so hopefully in five years time I will have made significant contributions in that respect. I would also love to go abroad and do great advertising. The intention is to aim high and reach there. Pakistan
3. I think so. But I also think it depends a lot on the work environment and your support system at home. Advertising as a profession has long hours. So if the people at home understand that and you are working in a good atmosphere, it’s definitely women friendly.
English Copywriter, Spectrum Y&R
Length of tenure in the profession: 2.5 years
1. I started my first job in advertising in
at a company called Barkers in 2006. It was my first job after graduating from university. After that, when I moved to London it was more or less a given that I had to apply for a job in advertising. Pakistan
2. I am hoping to be in a position where I will be leading my own team of professionals as a creative head and handling big brand names
3. In advertising you are surrounded by educated and articulate people compared to a lot of other professions in
. So yes, it is a profession where women feel equally encouraged to move ahead. Pakistan
Assistant Creative Director, Publicis
1. In school I was very interested in fine arts and I made up my mind to pursue a career in advertising, because the late Rashid Umer Thanvi, former president of
PAA,(also former chairman, M&A Communications) thought that it would be the best way to utilise my creative abilities. He gave me the guidance and the momentum that led me to join advertising.
2. The economic conditions of
are pretty bad right now. It is impossible to predict what the future will bring. However, if conditions permit, I would like to move into film production and direction. Pakistan
3. I think advertising as a profession is well suited to women, although it varies from one advertising agency to another. Women have a well developed aesthetic sense and thus they are more at home in the creative field. Women are also the decision makers for the majority of household goods. Thus women in advertising are in a better position to understand their buying psychology and can better connect with them. However advertising is not suited for women who strictly believe in a job.
Samia Ahmed Mufti
Group Account Director, JWT
1. With a business degree in hand, the way I knew advertising was all I wanted to do was thanks to my first job in a bank, which made me realise I was in the wrong place. I loved the world of ‘advertisements’ and decided to get into it for life.
2. I have set a challenge for myself that I will be running an agency within the next five years. There are very few women heading communication related businesses and I want to change that.
3. Yes, because I have climbed through the rungs and seen every type of situation and have been supported throughout. I am lucky to have worked in the best agency in the country where women are treated as more than equals. Times have changed and advertising is as open to women as to men.
First published as a cover story in the Aurora May-June 2009 issue.
First published as a cover story in the Aurora May-June 2009 issue.