Lisa Bright, Ogilvy California: "Make sure all of our voices are heard."

Using the power of creativity to enact real change in the industry

von India Fizer , AdForum

Ogilvy California
Werbung/Full Service/ Integriert
California, Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika
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Lisa Bright
Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy Ogilvy California

Lisa Bright is a recognized and awarded integrated creative leader who has spent her career telling brand stories – bringing to life big creative platforms and delivering non-traditional ideas in and out of the traditional spaces for brands including Workday, IBM, Gallo, Kotex, Cottonelle, Glad, McDonald’s, Wrigley, L’Oreal and Jeep.

Named #4 on Business Insider’s list of the 30 most creative Women in Advertising in 2016, her work consistently harnesses the power of brands at the intersection of culture and creativity. Bright shares her insight on championing women, of all stages, in the workplace to drive the future of marketing and advertising to truly impact culture.


In what ways can women in advertising pave the way for or support younger women hoping to break into advertising?

First and foremost, we can start by simply being their biggest champions from day one! But then we need to make that meaningful. By being available, accessible and vulnerable to women breaking in and those who’ve gotten through to the other side. Which means having an open door that younger women feel safe to walk through. Making time to connect, share our stories honestly, listen to theirs whole-heartedly, and provide real connection and access. And when they’re in our agencies and on our teams, giving them a shot at the big brief, taking the time to workshop a script, asking them how they would do things different – and then doing that. Letting them take big risks and being that mattress for them to fall on and bounce right back up to do it again and again.  


How can we close the gap created by ageism, especially among women, in the industry?

Ageism in this industry is, unfortunately, a reality for everyone. But research has shown that as many as two in three women over the age of 50 have experienced age discrimination, and I’d bet in advertising, that number is three out of three. Because just when we’ve gotten over our imposter syndrome and insecurities of not being taken seriously, we’ve gained our rightful respect and we are sitting tall at that table… nope, sorry, you’re too old for this table now.

Luckily, the logic for widening the circle for younger women is the same as keeping it open for all women. We keep showing up and keep bringing others up. Take up our rightful space. Make sure all of our voices are heard. Because when they are heard, they are valued – and they return on that value. There’s more research for that, showing the value and benefit of women in leadership is undeniable to the impact on culture, collaboration, performance and productivity. And I think with more women in leadership roles than ever before, we can do what we do best, and bring everyone together to close the ageism gap for all.


How does your experience as a woman in marketing inform your work?

I approach everything I do with conscious empathy. How I interact with people and teams and how I drive work. I want everyone to feel valued, seen and heard. And I want to make sure the work we put out in the world reflects that to whomever is consuming it. I believe a lot of that approach is inherent to my lived experience as a woman. I also think being a woman in marketing gives me a unique opportunity, and responsibility, to be able to use the power of creativity to effect the change we want to see in the world. The efforts I’m leading at Ogilvy to get the Equal Rights Amendment recognized under our constitution so that women can be equally protected in this country is a glaring example of that. A moment where my personal and professional experiences as a woman intersect and allow me to truly harness my purpose and power, unapologetically.


Gen Z is a generation of digital pioneers and has shifted the framework of many industries. How have this new generation of young women impacted the advertising industry and where do you anticipate they will improve the workplace going forward?

The world is digital, so to me they are simply pioneers. They had to be. They came up, or are coming up, in a time when the industry is being reimagined, not every decade, but every day. The ideas I see coming out of this younger generation of women is inspired, fearless, and so unconstrained. I love it.

A lot of the ideas today that we all love and hold up are not traditional ideas. They are the business ideas, the earned ideas, the hacking-of-the-system ideas. Which comes from thinking that you have to build into the muscle memory of those generations before, but it is built into their way of thinking. It’s part of their operating system.

There is no doubt that there are moments in advertising history that are a part of the larger zeitgeist and culture, but I think we are truly at an inflection point where advertising is becoming more than advertising in a way that it hasn’t before. That’s driven by the younger generations and their way of thinking, but also what they have come to expect from brands. Those two things colliding is going to make for something more than a creative renaissance or revolution in advertising. Maybe it’s the creative reckoning.