Women are significantly outnumbered in the creative departments of ad agencies. Yet women are frequently behind some of the most creative ideas of the year.
Business Insider’s list of the most creative women in advertising looks to recognise the most talented women in the industry.
In order to put this list together, we asked adbiz insiders to nominate the women they believed are the most creative in the business. To counterbalance self-serving nominations, we also asked each agency to nominate a female staffer from a competitor, someone they would love to work with in the future or just someone they admire in the industry.
From these nominations, paired with our own research, we selected 36 women. Factors we considered included recognition within the industry, seniority in their respective agencies, size of the shop, and of course, exciting creative work that’s garnered attention outside of the advertising world.
Our list is by no means complete. But it does feature the fiercest talents in the business.
Tara Poto teamed up with BMW for the Sochi Winter Olympics to create a documentary with the help of the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.
The result was a 30 minute documentary called 'Driving on Ice,' which aired on NBC. The video followed the men's bobsled team as it went after its first gold medal since 1936. However, the documentary also worked to increase brand awareness for BMW and show off the company's technology and design.
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35 & 34. Gina Delio and Terry Reiser, chief creative officer and chief operating officer at TAG Creative NYC
Gina Delio and Terry Reiser work for numerous beauty brands including L'Oreal, Avon, and Sally Hansen. As of right now, their shop has 15 member full-time staff, but the company taps into freelance talent for different projects.
This year they helped L'Oreal launch a new beauty app in about two weeks. The app lets the user test out different products on their tablet and smartphone devices.
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A founding member of DDB's San Francisco office, Stacey Grier currently acts as DDB California's chief strategic officer.
Her most recent work for Armour All, 'The Return of the Armour All Viking,' scored Grier a bronze Effie this year.
Last year she spearheaded the agency's work on the Clorox 'Bleachable Moments' campaign which also won an Effie. Grier has also worked with clients such as Brita Water Filtration, Fresh Step, Budweiser, and Levi's.
Erica Pressly was one of 12 women selected to serve for this year's 'See It Be It' program in Cannes, an initiative designed to help women in the industry pursue senior positions.
Her work includes Sauza Tequila's 'Make It With a Cowboy' spots, a campaign featuring a good-looking cowboy doing Pinterest worthy crafts.
Pressly also worked on a Pepsi Next social media campaign, 'The Extra Hour,' which aimed to get people to try the diet cola by giving them a free hour to try the drink while people from Task Rabbit completed household chores and ran errands.
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Molinaro helped create a 'Christmas Price Index' for PNC, an innovative website for the holidays where users could go and design their own '12 Days of Christmas' themed toys.
She also worked on a kid-targeted campaign for Band-Aid and The Muppets called 'Magic Vision,' which gave kids the chance to see their Muppet Band-Aids come to life.
Martha Riley began working at BBH in 2013 as a freelancer. She quickly worked her way up to creative director this year.
Riley took a nine-year break from the industry to start a family and raise her children, but before that she worked with brands such as Virgin Holidays and British Airways.
This year she worked on a Cannes nominated Waitrose campaign called 'Carrots,' and Dulux's 'Change your story,' an ad that channels the idea of the Prohibition Era by imagining a world without colour.
As an invention director at Deutsch, Outram works with clients including Pop Secret, Snapple, and Dr. Pepper.
This year, she helped Esurance build and launch 'Fuelcaster,' a gas price predictor designed to help people save money on gas.
Outram also helped design and create the innovative Copenhagen Wheel, a special wheel that is installed on any normal bike, turning it into an electric bike.
Incontinence products are often less-than-exciting, somewhat taboo products and it's difficult to do ads for them that are fun and engaging.
So Michelle Van Der Maas' work for both Poise and Depends shows consumers' real stories and real people using them.
In the past few years her work has brought in five Effies, all gold, for work on campaigns including U by Kotex ('Generation Know.')
Christy Pregont's New York Knicks '#Knickstape' social media campaign generated more than 300,000 fan photos and a number of celebrity endorsements. It also became a trending topic on Twitter.
She reached 3 million people with her work for Project Runway's 'Runway Redemption,' another social media campaign designed to build anticipation for an upcoming season of the fashion design show. 'Runway Redemption' generated over 100,000 Instagram impressions as well as 300,000 clicks on Project Runway's site.
Australian Sarah Barclay approaches her creative work with a great sense of humour.
Barclay's Banana Boat 'Defy The Sun' spots humorously illustrate, to men, the importance of wearing sunscreen. The 'Pool' spot has over 1.5 million YouTube views.
In the past, she launched 'Litter Genie,' a Diaper Genie product spin-off to dispose of cat litter. Barclay and her team came up with a series of cat-filled music videos that also demonstrated how the product works.
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Mariota Essery began her advertising career as a designer at Ogilvy Cape Town and later moved to Ogilvy London. She started at TBWAChiatDay LA in 2011.
Since working at TBWA, Essery has worked on Gatorade's 'Keep Her in the Game' spot from 2012 and more recently, on some Adidas World Cup campaigns including 'The Dream,' a dramatic piece starring Lionel Messi, and a more lighthearted spot, 'House Match,' featuring David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane.
'The Dream' has over 38 millions views and 'House Match' has over 18 million.
When she came to David&Goliath from JCPenney in 2013, Miller was head of strategic insights and has worked with clients including Hallmark, Target, and McDonald's.
Most recently, Miller helped create Kia's World Cup campaign starring Adriana Lima. The 'Football v. Futbol' campaign brought in over 3 million of YouTube views.
Newman and her 72andSunny team worked on Google Stories' 'Nightwalk in Marseille' campaign, and Samsung spots for both the 2012 London and 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games called 'What's your problem? Sport Doesn't Care.'
Her Google Story ad on Julie de Muer has over 2 million YouTube views and her Samsung Olympics spot has over 1.5 million views.
At 72andSunny, Newman has also worked on the creative for brands including Smirnoff, Google, and Benetton.
Scelzo spent the first 10 years of her career at Leo Burnett, rising from art director to creative director and vice president. Now she resides at FCB San Francisco where she manges Trulia.com, Air New Zealand, and the global Levi's account.
This year she worked on the 'Live in Levi's' campaign designed to create a new image for the brand. Here's a look at the full ad. She's also responsible for the Docker's 'Wear the Pants' campaign and some shocking 'Curiously Strong' Altoids print ads.
21 & 20. Chloe Gottlieb and Andrea Ring, SVP, executive creative director and head of insight planning/experience strategy at R/GA
In the past year, the two women helped Alv.io launch a new device for kids with asthma. The gadget tracks a child's symptoms, trains them to breath properly, and acts as a game controller. Their work won a Gold Lion at Cannes.
In 2013, another one of their campaigns won a Silver Lion for their work on McCormick's 'Flavour Print' campaign.
You can thank Liz Levy for turning baby carrots into something you want to 'eat like junk food.' She helped take a boring little vegetable and turned it into something people actually want to eat.
Before landing in the ad business, Levy worked as a classic car historian and appraiser and also studied culinary arts in Florence, Italy.
In her role at DigitasLBi, Kline has crafted campaigns for Tide using Vine videos and infographics. She came up with the idea for the Tide 'Game of Thrones' infographic, showing a season of stains and a Halloween themed Vine for the film 'Carrie.'
Kline came to Digitas in 2004 as the company's VP of marketing and promotions group director. Since then, she's been promoted to SVP of BrandLive.
You can thank these ladies for the creation of the .GIFYS, an awards show that recognises animated GIFS. With the help of CP+B LA copywriter William Sawyer, Dauterman and O'Brien launched the .GIFYS this year and won two Webby awards for it.
They also worked on the creative team that launched the social media based A.1 Steak Sauce 'New Friend Request' video, which shows diehard steak sauce users using A.1 on everything from fish tacos to mac 'n' cheese. The ad has over 1 million views on YouTube.
Elisa Tan won her first Cannes Lion when she was still an intern at McCann Erickson Singapore, and she has won plenty more since then.
One of her huge Hot Wheels stunts set a Guinness World Record and won four lions at Cannes, one gold and three silver. The outdoor campaign recreated a 'double dare loop' from the children's toy track in full life-size. Tan says the campaign was a great mix of 'technical challenge, creative opportunity and pure fun.'
She also worked on rebranding Jagermeister, an attempt to change people's perception of the drink from a boy's 'frat party' shot to a gentleman's drink. The ad was supplemented with a number of behind the scenes, narrative driven pieces.
Karen Land Short began her career as an art director, moving from Ogily Singapore to Goody, Silverstein & Partners and finally, Droga5.
Short pitched in on a number of ads for Newcastle Brown Ale's 'No Bollocks' campaign.
Previously she has worked with clients like Chobani and Got Milk. Her work with Prudential on its 'The Challenge Lab' campaign won a Cannes Titanium Lion and Silver Cyber Lion.
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Christine Gignac moved to Anomaly after a career as a creative director at Partners & Space, an art director at BBDO and Mother NY, and a freelancer. She also is also an advertising instructor at Pratt Institute.
Her 2013, Oreo spot 'Life Raft' won a silver Lion at Cannes and a One Show silver pencil. She's also worked on some other winning spots including Oreo's 2013 Super Bowl commercial, 'Whisper Fight.'
In 2012 her UNICEF campaign 'Good Shirts' brought in two Cannes Lions and two CLIO's, as well as $US375,000 worth of donations.
Liz Cartwright is behind Intel's 'Look Inside' campaign.
Her work, featuring the blind mountain-climber Erik Weihenmayer, won VB+P a Bronze Lion this year at Cannes.
Before coming to VB+P, Cartwright worked at Deutsch LA on the 'Playstation All-Stars' viral video which gained 5 million views in five days. Prior to that, she worked at TBWAChiatDay and Sid Lee.
Sue Anderson started her career as a copywriter for TBWA Hunt Lascaris in Johannesburg, South Africa. During her 10 year stint with TBWA, she worked on campaigns for BMW, Land Rover, and the International Cricket Board, for which she worked with Nelson Mandela.
From there she went to Wieden+Kennedy's Amsterdam operation and then back to TBWAChiatDay in New York. At CP+B she heads up the creative department in the LA office.
Anderson was lead creative for this year's most watched ad online, with over 138 million views. The spot for Turkish Airlines follows soccer superstar Lionel Messi and NBA star Kobe Bryant as they travel the world, trying to one-up one another by taking the ultimate selfies.
Anderson was the lead creative on this Turkish Airlines ad, one of the most watched ads of the year.
Laura Fegley heads up BBH's global creative Vaseline account.
Fegley's spot for Vaseline's new spray lotion product plays off the fact that it's hard to put your clothes on after you've used your hands to slather on lotion.
She also currently oversees work for Newell-Rubbermaid and British Airways.
Kerry Kennan joined Deutsch NY back in 2013 after working as a freelancer.
This year she's been making waves on social media channels like Twitter with her TNT Mob City Launch. To hype up the premier of 'Mob City,' Keenan spearheaded the effort to publish the entire manuscript of the show's first episode through Twitter.
The stunt landed her and Deutsch NY a Cyber Bronze Lion at this year's festival.
Leslie Sims was the mind behind Staple's Easy Button. She has since expanded her creative portfolio to include the Ashley Furniture, USPS, and Ignite Restaurant Group accounts.
One of her most recent projects, the Nature Valley Trail View campaign, brought Sims over 2.5 million page views. This campaign lets users explore different hiking trails and parks as part of a nature conservancy project.
The campaign was awarded two Gold Lions at Cannes, one for branded content and one for entertainment, and two Webbies.
Alison Tsoi has over 15 years of industry experience. Before landing at AKQA she worked as a freelance creative director, a creative director at Ogilvy, and got her start as an art director at OgilvyOne.
Since then, Tsoi's has worked with clients including American Express, Dove, CoverGirl, and Verizon. Her most recent Verizon ad 'Inspire Her Mind' picked up 2 million views on YouTube in just two days and encourages young girls, and the people that influence their lives, to explore science, technology, engineering, and maths, also known as STEM fields.
Andrea Mileskiewicz dreamed up one of this year's most viral ad campaigns when she went to visit her brother and sister-in-law and their two kids. The idea for the American Greetings Mother's Day 'World's Toughest Job' ad came from watching her brother disappear when he came home from work, while his sister-in-law did all the work.
Mileskiewicz wanted this ad to illustrate just how important the job of being a mum is, using business terms to show why its the hardest job out there. The video has over 21 million views on YouTube and was talked about by many media outlets like CNN and Good Morning America.
Watson is BBH NY's first ever chief strategy officer.
This year, with Watson taking the lead, BBH produced the award-winning 'Perfect Day' PlayStation ad and the EFFIE winning Cole Haan 'Don't Go Home' outdoor campaign for Fashion Week.
She also led the Griffin Farley Search For Beautiful Minds, a program designed to shape young, creative minds in honour of a colleague who lost his battle with mesothelioma in February 2013.
Julia Neumann joined forces with DDB New York to create an inspiring video for Water is Life this year.
The 'Bucket List' campaign illustrated one young Kenyan boy's bucket list. The idea behind the ad is that this boy has a one in five chance of making it to five-years-old because of his lack of access to clean drinking water.
The emotional piece has nearly 1 million views on YouTube and shows the boy, Knaitole, experiencing some amazing things from riding in a hot air balloon to seeing the ocean for the first time. The piece won a Gold Lion at Cannes.
Neumann's 'Bucket List' campaign for Water Is Life won a Gold Lion at Cannes and a People's Choice Webby.
Becky Swanson was part of a global team that this year launched the Always 'Like A Girl' video, which gained 30 million YouTube views in less than two weeks.
The campaign honed in on the fact that young girls often experience a big loss of confidence when they go through puberty. This ad, which now has nearly 47 million views online, worked to change the stereotype of what it means to do something 'like a girl.'
Katie Brinkworth worked on The Skype 'Stay Together' campaign, which has over 2.5 million YouTube views. One of the most heartwarming spots brought together two teens, both born without a full left arm, who had never met and used Skype to keep in touch.
Brinkworth's work won a Cannes cyber Lion and a branded content Lion. She also works on Pereira & O'Dell's Intel and Renuzit accounts.
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This year, Joanna Monteiro and her team from FCB São Paulo created 'The Protection Ad' for Nivea, a piece that starts as a print advertisement. It also functions as a reusable bracelet that can track your kids during a day at the beach, or anywhere else you take them. Users first download the app to their smartphones, and then they can monitor their kid's movements. It won a Mobile Grand Prix at Cannes this year as well as a Gold Media Lion.
Monteiro was also part of a Nivea campaign that allowed people to charge their smartphones using a solar-powered Nivea magazine ad.
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