State Farm VP Reveals The INFURIATING Way Ad Agencies Pitch To Her As A Black Woman

pamela elPamela El.

Photo: Screenshot

Pamela El is a major player in the advertising industry.After working 25 years on the agency side at The Martin Agency, US WEST, and Terabeam, she is now the vp/marketing at State Farm. 

El is also a black woman, which is still a relatively rare sight on Madison Avenue.

As an Advertising Week panel on sexism in the agency world — triggered by veteran ad exec Colleen DeCourcy’s confessional in Digiday — was wrapping up at the NASDAQ building, El stood up to make a confessional of her own: The infuriating way that she is pitched to, now that she’s in charge on the client side.

“It’s so irritating when agencies walk in the door and they feel that they have to bring a black person — and we all know that they don’t have any — so they bring in the intern to present to me,” El said to a crowded room.

“And it’s really hard for them to bring the black female intern,” she continued, laughing, “because they really don’t have any of those!”

Women make up only three per cent of creative directors. The percentage shrinks even more for black female creative directors.


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