BEC BRIDESON > 48 > FOUNDER > MELBOURNE
The woman who wrote the book on advertising to women
Bec Brideson's humility has always been mistaken by the patriarchy as a weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Advertising industry has rarely seen such a ruthless warrior queen.
And she's only just begun.
"Only 1% of the world's government and procurement budgets go to female-owned businesses. We need to look at why."
Her new project 'Women With Agency' was born out of her hard-earned experience.
In 2004, she opened Australia's first specialist marketing to women agency – Venus, which achieved massive success building to an extremely profitable, mid-size agency.
As the digital revolution grew, data confirmed that women make 85% of all purchasing decisions and this made her more determined than ever to ensure their spending power was understood and taken seriously within mainstream agency thinking. For the last six years she has taken this message to the world, and in doing so became the first Australian woman to speak on stage at Cannes Lions. She even wrote the book BlindSpots to prove it.
But this statistical, evidence-based enlightenment was still not enough to put her agency on the radar of the larger multinationals. Rather than seeing this as a big business strategy to be embraced and update current thinking, many mistakenly pigeon-holed her message as commentary on gender-politics. But Bec knew nuanced segmentation was an opportunity to transform cultures and create commercial muscle in the era of customer-centricity that arrived.
Bec's early career story is well known, but one she can't tell in full. She wears the guarded and fearful expression of a woman who has been silenced. Which is heartbreaking to us who have heard her story in whispers from those who witnessed the attempted destruction of a refreshing creative, intelligent and disruptive woman.
Exactly the sort of disruptive leader today's new young creative generations so desperately need.
"Why don’t we see women’s names on a multinational network that started on Madison Avenue Agency? We honour the great forefathers of Advertising – from Ogilvy to Bernbach, but where are our ‘foremothers’ and why have they been erased? This is the question our industry needs to metabolise because age and experience are great assets in any agency. Some of the best creative resources I have worked with are now-retired creative men and women."
In her work with the Australian Football League she put together a “dream team” of some of Australia's most remarkable creative women, including advertising legend Jane Caro and starring the irrepressible Lee Lee Chin. And in helping disrupt the sporting arena for women, Bec opened up a new channels in commercial business as she always has and always will.
Because the last thing Bec Brideson is going to do is quietly disappear into obscurity. She's the ultimate optimist, she has done her 10,000 hours of coal-face CEO flying hours and she has hands-on experience across every facet of the business to build a better deal for the future of advertising.
We'd all like to see that.