After taking the U.S. ad world by storm, The 3% Conference will make its Canadian premiere on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at the Miami Ad School in Toronto.
The Conference’s guiding message of diversity = creativity = profitability has been widely heralded as forcing the ad industry to question its mostly male, mostly white leadership, especially on the creative side of the business. Through a mixture of microactions, engaging men (Manbassadors), mentorship and professional development, The 3% Conference has helped to up the number of female creative directors from three percent to 11 percent since its inception four years ago.
Despite the fact that female consumers influence upwards of 85 percent of consumer spending, only three percent of advertising creative directors in the U.S. were women when The 3% Conference first launched. This puzzling fact is often cited as the reason that over 90 percent of female consumers surveyed feel marketers don’t understand them. In a world where advertising budgets have to work harder than ever, brands know they cannot woo the gatekeepers of $20 trillion of global spending using messaging crafted – or green-lighted – almost solely by men.
Kat Gordon, founder of The 3% Conference, describes her inspiration for the conference as the ultimate ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ moment in her life. Gordon, who worked as a senior copywriter at several big agencies, observed how women were often not a part of senior management or included in important pitches.
Years later, when Gordon managed her own agency – one that specializes in marketing to women — she witnessed the growing power of the female consumer. “It was like connecting two dots. Why is the most powerful consumer segment in the world not being marketed to from a place of understanding?” says Gordon.
To help bring The 3% Conference to Canada, the organizers have reached out to the Canadian marketing communications industry for support. To date, sponsors include DDB Canada, The Miami Ad School, Facebook, SapientNitro and the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA).
As the first to sign on as a sponsor of The 3% Conference in Canada, DDB Canada is playing an active role, helping to shape the initiative, and underscoring how important it is to drive change in this area.
Canada’s representation of women in creative roles stands at 23.1 percent overall, with just 11.8 percent of all Canadian creative directors being female.
“We always try to be an agency that walks the talk when it comes to gender diversity in the workplace,” says Frank Palmer, Chairman and CEO, DDB Canada. “At DDB Canada, we have incredibly talented women at the helm of all four of our offices – we believe when the industry works together, we can all achieve a more diverse, gender-balanced workforce.”
Another industry-leading organization, the ICA, has signed on to be a partner in this inaugural conference. “The ICA has always been a champion in fostering gender equality and diversity with their agency partners,” says Gillian Graham, CEO, ICA. “We hope this first conference will help stimulate dialogue around this important issue.”
Since its inception, The 3% Conference has hosted sold-out events in 13 U.S. cities and in London, England – evolving its mission to help raise the visibility and impact of all women in advertising, even beyond creative roles. Tuesday, August 30th marks its first appearance in Canada at the Miami Ad School’s new Toronto campus located at the Burroughes Building, 639 Queen Street West, 6th Floor. Tickets priced at $376 CAD are available for purchase at 3percenttoronto.eventbrite.com.
To date, participating conference speakers, moderators and panelists include:
- Wendy Clark, CEO, DDB Worldwide, North America
- Erin Elofson, Director, Auto & Financial Services, Facebook
- Alison Garnett, Creative Director, SapientNitro
- Kat Gordon, Founder, The 3% Conference
- Aman Gulati, Founder at Miami Ad School Toronto
- Heidi Hackemer, Founder, Wolf & Wilhelmine
- Andrew Kirby, VP of Client Services, SapientNitro
- Daina Middleton, Principal, Larcen Consulting Group
- Frank Palmer, Chairman/CEO, DDB Canada
- Pippa Seichrist, Founder, Miami Ad School
- Nancy Vonk + Janet Kestin, Co-Founders/Partners, Swim
- Christina Yu, Creative Director, Red Urban