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Three Major Female Pioneers in Advertising and Marketing

When you think of industry leaders, many male figures come to mind—Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and Steven Spielberg. These men all stand out as revolutionaries within their respective fields. But when it comes to important woman, only a few come to mind in the business world. Surprisingly, some fields such as communication have been acknowledging exceptional women in their field for some time now. Charlotte Beers, Bernice Fitz-Gibbon and Phyllis Robinson made enormous contributions in marketing and advertising during the 1900’s and are still hailed today.

Bernice Fitz-Gibbon (1894-1982)

Some might be surprised to learn that a woman, Bernice Fitz-Gibbon was the mastermind behind Macy’s and Gimbel’s advertising in the 1920’s. Fitz-Gibbon created many historic campaigns including Macy’s “It’s Smart to Be Thrifty” and Gimbel’s “Nobody, But, Nobody Undersells Gimbel’s.” Fitz-Gibbon received many accolades throughout her career including the Women of the Year in Business award in 1955 and was recognized by Fortune Magazine in 1957 as one of the leading business women nationwide.

Charlotte Beers (1935-Present)

Charlotte Beers successfully served as the Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs to help repair the United State’s image with the Middle East. She is well known for her work with Uncle Ben’s where she became the first female product manager. Leading Authorities Inc. noted the following about Beers, stating, “[Beers is] an advocate for fulfilling the potential of women in the workplace, [and] works to give women the insight and vision to break into the leadership circle.”

Phyllis Robinson (1921-2010)

Robinson is well known for her controversial and witty communication style. She was the first woman to run a copy department as the Chief of Grey Advertising in 1949 and continued to push the envelope on societal taboos her entire career. One of her most well-known ad campaigns was for a Jewish bread-making company, Levy’s Real Jewish Rye. At the time, the company was experiencing low sales due to a miscommunication about who could consume the bread. Robinson decided to tackle the issue head on by addressing the elephant in the room. In response to the issue, she created the following jaw-dropping and very successful campaign: “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye.” She has also been acknowledged for her work with Polaroid and her work is considered to be some of the best of its time.

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More and more fields are beginning to accept the notion that women are not only capable of but drivers of success, innovation, and improvement in businesses. As this trend continues, the world will be exposed to more unique perspectives and ideas that only women can bring to the table.

Senior | Strategic Communication
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