“And then you have to sell work to clients, and guess what? They are men, and then you have to get it made by directors. And they are men. And then, if you want your career to progress, you need to win awards. And largely in the past, all the juries are men and then you look back and you go, historically, the work that’s winning awards is sport, beer, football, technology, cars. So you see, it’s not that it’s innately against women, it’s just nature’s way. So until we’ve addressed that balance, and thank goodness it’s finally happening, it’s very hard as a woman to get on [in this world]… and I did struggle, if I’m honest, I look back and go, my portfolio of work should be better.”
In this episode, I talk to Rosie Arnold. Rosie is an icon in the world of Advertising. She joined the world-famous ad agency BBH straight from art school in 1983. And she stayed there 33 years, learning her craft and working closely with its founder John Hegarty. After the passing of her husband, she decided she needed a change and went on to work for another acclaimed ad agency AMVBBDO. But before too long, she felt it was time to leave agency life to pursue personal projects.
So as you can imagine we covered a lot, from landing at BBH where she got to see this hot creative shop grow from 11 people to over 400 staff, and with agencies across the world.
We discussed what it was like to work with her mentor John Hegarty as well as some of her iconic ads including her favourite work for Pretty Polly tights and Levi’s Jeans.
What stood out for me was her ability to paint me a picture of this ‘Mad Men world’ as she puts it. Because of course, Rosie saw it all – the highs and the lows this industry has to offer.
One incident that stood out for me was incidents along the way and one that particularly stood out for me was when she was promoted to a bigger role, they tried to pay her less than her male predecessor. Fortunately, he had very helpfully shared how much he was paid so when they offered her less, she was able to demand what was rightfully hers.
It was such a lovely conversation, full of important stories that we can hopefully all learn from.