Background and Early Career (08:19)
Becky Swanson worked on a General Motors assembly line before studying commercial art and getting a job as an art director at TLK. She was surprised to write storyboards for projects; she eventually moved to Leo Burnett.
Culture of Competition (03:08)
Swanson worked at the same agency for most of her career; the culture and leadership changed many times. Leo Burnett had a critical and competitive culture, that led to strong presentations and creative work.
Sexism in the Advertising Industry (04:30)
John Immesoete speculates about the effects of the white-male dominant culture at ad agencies. Swanson argues that though she was often one of few women, coworkers were supportive and the creative nature of the work promoted talent-based judgement and equality.
Criticism and Ageism in Advertising Business (07:01)
Swanson argues that people have become too careful about criticism and need to be more honest. Immesoete suggests the ad industry does not appreciate older people, partly because of the need to produce at a higher rate and in digital forms.
"Mean Stinks" Campaign (08:17)
Swanson moved into digital advertising, gaining success with a campaign for Secret. Starting with an interactive website and online video, the ad promoted participation. Immesoete argues that modern consumers are attracted to social causes and the internet enables engagement.
"Like a Girl" Campaign (05:05)
Swanson created a campaign for Always to create awareness of negative sexist language. The online video gained success around the world with 90 million views. Swanson explains that continually selling the idea to the client was a challenge.
Awards and Retirement (06:08)
The "Like a Girl" and "Mean Stinks" campaigns won many awards. This revealed a shift in the industry because feminine hygiene products had long been unpopular to work on; campaigns that take risks are more successful. Swanson decided to retire after the successful projects.
Credits: A Conversation With Becky Swanson: Conversations with Giants (00:30)
Credits: A Conversation With Becky Swanson: Conversations with Giants
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