Few mourned the end of Tim Delaney’s fearless tenure as chairman of
the Creative Directors Forum, during which he played both soloist and
conductor in a musical called Advertising is a Soft Touch for Suppliers.
Production companies were smarting over his attacks on their charging
system - ’production companies quote one price to us and get another
from facilities houses’. And headhunters came under fire for their
commission arrangements - ’headhunters simply move people’s books from
one place to the next’.
Now Peter Souter is taking over, and his agenda looks altogether more
cosy. Its main focus is on training for creative directors, covering
everything from handling a budget to dealing with a bereaved
In fact, his mailout to 50 creative directors last week may have led
some recipients to conclude that he lacks the strong opinions and
emotions that are expected of the leader of this IPA-affiliated industry
body. Reading it - ’you can either modify and improve on (my) ideas or
oust me in favour of someone older and smarter’ - it’s all too easy for
critics to portray him as a feather in the wind.
So I’ve got a suggestion for the CDF. Why not set in motion a proper
study into why so few women make it into creative departments, let alone
to the position of creative director. Exceptions like Barbara Nokes,
Rosie Arnold and Tiger Savage aside, it is constantly being said that
creative is one of the few agency departments that women fail to crack,
and yet none of the industry bodies seems prepared to investigate the
Is it because of the male hang-up that persists in regarding women as
crumpet first and worker second? Because women can’t shoot pool and down
pints as well as men? Because the hours are too long to allow for family
life? Because women think intuitively rather than logically? Because
they are less prepared to slum it on the ’wages’ paid to placement
teams, and so head for other careers before starting out on the
I’ve heard all these theories and a great many others besides, but I
refuse to believe the most obvious one - which is that creative
directors dislike hiring women as a matter of ’policy’. I refuse to
believe it, not just because the stupidity of such a position, if
thought through, is obvious, but because so many creative directors -
old fart and young turk alike - consistently voice the opinion privately
that they want to hire more women. What we need is research into the
issue and the CDF is undoubtedly the best body to make it happen.
Last week we even saw women allowed, ever so gratefully and after a mere
100 years, into the MCC. Let’s not leave it another hundred to find out
why they can’t make it in the creative department.