Creative Ad Exec Resigns over Misogynist Remarks

Neil French, the worldwide creative director of WPP Group has had to resign after causing a storm with his remarks about women ad creatives, according to an article in The New York Times.

In a meeting in Toronto on October 6th, he said women “don’t make it to the top because they don’t deserve to.”

Nancy Vonk, Co-Chief Creative Director of Ogilvy in Toronto, writes about this over-the-top evening here. Her agency is part of the WPP Group. She attended the event and has known Mr. French for several years. She is familiar with his attitudes toward women. She writes, “Before us was a big part of the explanation of why more women aren’t succeeding in advertising,” as she believes his ideas are representative of the way top executives in the advertising business think.

Moreover, according to Vonk, Mr. French said most women leave the business to “go suckle something.” Was Mr. French trying to get fired? Was this a $100-a-seat frat party?

From my experience in advertising, listening as a guy to other ad guys talk, I have to say she is right. Often these conversations are straight out of the men’s locker room. I haven’t of course heard the discussions about who gets promoted to the top creative spot, but I can’t imagine their whole good ole boy tone disappears.