Famous Women in Advertising – From the ‘Mad Men Era’ till Present

Men dominate the advertising world, but what about the women who have contributed to shaping the industry? This post discusses some of the most influential female advertising pioneers from the past, present, and future.

The evolution of women in advertising has been a fascinating subject of study. The first female employed by an agency was Helen Lansdowne in 1967 when she joined The Advertising Hall of Fame as a copywriter. Several famous women were successful in advertising during the Mad Men era, including women in graphic design and marketing.

Advertising is one of the most rewarding careers for a woman, but it is also one of the most challenging. According to the Campaign and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, the percentage of women holding leadership positions in marketing agencies is slightly lower than in the past two years. Only 4% of Fortune 500 companies are led by a female CEO, while women hold only 19% of senior management positions.

With the recent scandals in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, the need for diversity is more apparent than ever in the advertising and marketing industry. Some top women in marketing are highlighted as walking the walk and talking the talk; they are innovative and creative.

We would like to applaud some top women in advertising and marketing who are helping lead the way forward, whether at an agency, leading a corporate brand, or working across industries.

What is Advertising?

Advertising is a form of communication that aims to persuade the audience to purchase a particular product or service. Many people think that advertising is done only to promote products, but advertising can be used to promote anything, whether it is political or charitable causes. Advertising plays a significant role in the world of business and social life.

The term “advertising” can refer to any media that conveys information about a company, its products, and its services. Advertising is also a way for a company to get your attention. If the company is successful, it will sell more of its products or services. It is an essential part of the marketing mix. The primary purpose is to reach potential customers and encourage them to buy a particular product or service. It may be direct contact or indirect contact. This interaction is what makes communication effective. So, when you want to market your product, you need to advertise it to get your message across to your target audience.

There are many types of advertising; however, some are more effective than others.

Advertisements have been used for centuries to market products, including selling books, newspapers, magazines, clothing, and food, and used in radio and television to reach a broad audience.

What should women remember if they choose to work in the advertising industry?

Some people are born with talent; others must work hard to develop their skills and abilities. Some people are born to work in the advertising industry. Other people must study for weeks and months to learn and develop skills for the advertising industry. 

It’s essential to remember this when you are trying to make a career in advertising. First and foremost, remember to be passionate about your work. To become a successful ad person, you’ll have to work hard and be willing to take on any challenge. Making a good impression while working for an advertising agency is essential. Lastly, be sure to have a good sense of humor and be able to make people laugh. You’ll probably have to work very long hours.

Famous Women in Advertising

Famous women in advertising are the female characters that have significantly impacted the advertising industry. The characters can be female or male and can appear in various forms of media such as television, print, radio, movies, music, video games, and more. Many of the women who are in advertising today are in positions of power and influence. They may hold executive or director-level positions within an organization or be influential individuals in their own right. 

There are many famous women in advertising. However, not all of them are successful. Women need to understand that advertising is competitive. In the past, men constantly developed advertising, but as society evolved, women have become more prominent in the advertising industry. While some companies still hire men to advertise, others have women working for them. Many famous women have made their mark in advertising, from Mary Wells Lawrence to Wendy Clark.

Regarding advertising, women make up a significant percentage of the overall market. But, some great women have made their mark in advertising. Let’s take a look at some of the best women in advertising.

Wendy Clark – Global CEO, Dentsu

Wendy Clark has a lot of experience in the advertising industry. She worked at one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, where she had a chance to work with clients such as Time Warner Cable, Miller Lite,  Coca-Cola, IBM, McDonald’s, and many other large companies. She even worked as the CEO of the agency DDB North America. This agency was considered one of the world’s most prestigious and successful agencies. 

Wendy’s leadership brought the agency to the next level, where they have been recognized for their outstanding efforts. Wendy’s accomplishments include being the first agency to introduce a successful campaign that promoted the idea of “We Are Unlimited” for the McDonald’s corporation.

Wendy Clark has been on the front lines of business for decades. When she became the CEO of DDB North America, Wendy Clark was a former Coca-Cola marketing veteran. McDonald’s was one of the major brands that the agency won new business accounts under her watch. The old agency was rejuvenated by her innovative and disruptive strategies inside and outside the company. 

Wendy’s efforts to think outside the box propelled the agency to launch initiatives like We are unlimited, which is an agency dedicated to only Mcdonald’s marketing efforts. She helped revolutionize the agency’s operations during her tenure at the firm.

Wendy started the DDB group in Asia, a new division designed to launch new regional products. She also helped launch the company’s international division, which grew to include more than 100 offices around the globe. 

Wendy also served as the global CEO of Omnicom Media Group. At OMMG, she made significant changes in the company, including creating the digital practice, building a significant social media presence, and changing how brands market to consumers. Wendy became the Executive Officer of Dentsu Group in 2020.

Mary Wells Lawrence

You can’t talk about women in advertising without mentioning the name Mary Wells Lawrence.

Lawrence is best known for being the first female CEO of a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Even if you don’t know her name, you know some of her work because her influence on advertising was phenomenal. Lawrence started her career working at a department store. She moved to New York City in 1953 and became a group copy head at the agency.

Just four years later, she joined the agency that would become one of the most influential in the history of advertising. Alka Seltzer (Plop, plop, fizz, fizz) was the subject of one of her most well-known campaigns.

Lawrence suggested that the ad shows two tablets being put into the glass, meaning that people use two each time they take the remedy. As a result of this, Alka Seltzer was sold even more. Other campaigns include: “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” and “Try it, you will like it” for Alka Seltzer.

Jack Tinker and Partners is where Lawrence went to work after DDB. The Lawrence campaign was “The End of the Plain Plane” for Braniff International Airways and became known as “Tinker’s Thinkers” worldwide. The campaign was essential to the success of the airline.

Lawrence said that she couldn’t just be you regarding her creative process. You have to double your strength. You have to read books about things you don’t know anything about. You have to travel to places you’ve never been to before. You must meet every kind of person and stretch what you know.

To be successful in your life, you must be willing to learn new things. You must be willing to travel and be exposed to different cultures and ways of life. It’s essential to know other people and to talk with them. You should learn from the experiences of others. This is important because you are going to learn something new every day.

You must also be open-minded. You can’t be closed-minded. Closed-minded people will fail to grow and achieve success. Being open-minded will help you see the world and its opportunities. You should keep learning and grow no matter how old you are. You will be successful if you are willing to learn.

Phyllis Kenner Robinson

The woman who created some of the best work to come out of the golden age of advertising was born in New York City in 1921 and named Phyllis Kenner Robinson. Robinson wanted to be a writer even though he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Barnard College.

She joined Grey Advertising after beginning her career at Bresnick and Solomont. Robinson and her art director were there from the beginning, and she met a man named William Bernbach, who went on to find a different man. Mary Wells Lawrence joined the firm in 1957 and was a part of Robinson’s first-ever chief copywriter team.

Phyllis Robinson joined DDB in 1956 and is responsible for some of the most memorable advertising campaigns. She was one of the first women in the business and the first to hold a job of responsibility at DDB. Her work in the early 1950s was mainly for small independent companies, and her first big break came when she wrote the campaign for Orbach’s, a kosher food company.

The campaign featured a man in a suit and was meant to represent the firm’s Jewish clientele. The campaign was so successful it brought Orbach’s to the attention of Henry S. Levy, who had recently started his own food company. DDB agreed to create an ad campaign for Levy’s Real Jewish Rye, and Robinson was assigned to write the copy for the campaign.

It was an instant hit, and the campaign remains one of the most memorable in advertising history. Robinson went on to work for a wide range of other clients, including Polaroid, Volkswagen, and El Al Airlines. She was also the first woman ever to serve as the president of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (A4A).

Betty Draper

Women have been an integral part of the advertising industry for decades. Some famous women in advertising include Betty Draper, a character on the television show Mad Men. She has been a role model to many women. Ruth Handler, the first woman in the United States to be hired by a primary advertising agency, became the Young and Rubicam agency president in 1944.

Ruth Handler was the first woman to hold the position. The first female copywriter to work at an advertising agency was Mary Wells. She started as a secretary, but she quickly rose through the ranks to become a copywriter. In the 1950s, she wrote for magazines such as Mademoiselle.

January Jones portrays her. Betty Draper was married to the main character, Don Draper (Jon Hamm). She is the mother of Sally Draper (Kathryn Newton) and Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks). Betty Draper is one of the most memorable characters from the show. She was born in Ohio and raised in Pittsburgh. Her father died when she was young.

She attended Syracuse University. While at school, she worked as a model. After she graduated, she moved to New York City to pursue her modeling career. Betty Draper’s husband, Don, is an advertising executive. He works for Sterling Cooper. In the early 1960s, he was responsible for creating the campaign for the Lucky Strike cigarettes.

During this time, he worked with the ad agency J. Walter Thompson. Betty Draper and Don were together for a long time. They were married in 1959. Their marriage was rocky, but they stayed together for many years. The couple had three children: Betty II, Bobby, and Susan.

Tiger Savage – Creative Director, Found of Tigers Eye

When the name Tiger Savage comes up, it’s not hard to do well in modern advertising. She is one of the leading advertising women of the modern era. After completing his training at the School of Communication Arts, Savage joined the highly creative shop Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow & Johnson. Blue-chip giants like Nike and Virgin employed her.

She moved on to the powerhouse Bartle Bogle Hegarty, where she won numerous awards for her work on Coca-Cola and Levis. The Axe Effect in the U.S. has become one of the most recognized campaigns in modern advertising.

The Tiger was the first of the big three American women who broke barriers and made a difference in advertising. Looking back on her career, it’s clear that Tiger Savage impacted the advertising world with her innovative ideas and creative spirit. The Tiger was a true innovator. She was a pioneer and an industry leader.

I think she should be included in any list of the best creative minds in advertising. In 2006, Tiger Savage was honored with the AIGA Medal for outstanding achievement in the field of communications.

After BBH, Savage went to work at Leagas Delaney, then M&C Saatchi. She spent most of her career here and then quit after 11 years to become a consultant. She believes that women have to work twice as hard because there is a lot of testosterone in the creative departments. That follows the hours.

It is difficult if you have children of your own. I don’t have children, so I might say a lot without saying anything. She is married to Will King, the co-founding partner of Savage & King. Tiger Savage is a character from the movie.

Jean Wade Rindlaub

Jean Rindlaub was born in the year 1904 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


She became a pioneer in the advertising industry. She was a pioneering woman and used her skills to create some of the best advertising campaigns in history. Rindlaub became the first woman to become a prominent advertising executive.

She moved to New York City in 1930 to follow her dream of working in advertising. Within a month, she started working as a secretary at the famous agency Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn. Soon, she was promoted to the position of the copywriter.

In 1940, she joined Hearst as a copywriter. She left Hearst in 1946 and became an independent copywriter. Some of her most memorable campaigns include Bond Bread, Enna Jettick shoes, Campbell’s Soup, Carter’s clothing, General Mills, and United Fruit Company. 

She promoted several products, and her ideas were efficient. Many people found her creative ideas about women and the female perspective impressive. This helped sell many products, and her ideas positively impacted the company. She became one of the most prominent women in the advertising industry.

However, her work for Oneida during World War II is some of her most memorable and impactful. “Back Home for Keeps” was an ad campaign and a tangible symbol of hope. During World War II, Rindlaub was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame.

Cara Scharf – President & Founder, Fearless Media

Cara Scharf was born in California and raised in Texas. She graduated from Baylor University with a B.A. in economics and received her master’s degree in public affairs from George Washington University. Cara also studied at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Cara Scharf is the founder of Fearless Media. This New York City advertising agency works with clients to develop a marketing strategy, execute campaigns, and drive revenue, with over 25 years of advertising experience. She has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, including American Express, Dell, Google, Microsoft, and more.  

She started working in the advertising industry in 1990 and became the Executive Vice President at Tangible Media in 2005. She then founded her advertising firm, Fearless Media, in 2007.

The company focuses on three major industries: education, finance, and retail. Fearless Media has worked with some of the world’s largest companies, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, MasterCard, eBay, American Express, JP Morgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, Verizon, Nike, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and many others.

Before she founded Fearless Media, Cara was the Executive Vice President of Tangible Media. She helped lead the agency’s growth and business development, increasing the company’s billing from 10 million to 50 million.

She has received numerous awards, including the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2014 and the Marketing & Advertising Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017 at the Business Women’s Awards.

Shirley Polykoff

Shirley Polykoff started her career in the magazine industry as a teenager after being born and raised in Brooklyn in 1908. After working at Harper’s Bazaar, she moved to retail stores such as Bamberger’s and Kresge.

Her career took off when she was hired at Foote, Cone & Belding in 1955. She created one of the most successful campaigns in the history of advertising here when she took over the account. It was impossible to ignore the epic line ” Does she or doesn’t she?” for Clairol, and it profoundly affected American women.

Seven percent of women in the United States dyed their hair before the campaign began. The sales of tint and dyes increased from $25 million to more than $200 million after it was more than 50 percent.

Because of results like that, Shirley Polykoff rose to become executive vice president and creative director at FC&B. After leaving FC&B, Polykoff started her agency and once again made the company millions of dollars with her expert guidance.

Polykoff was awarded Advertising Woman of the Year in 1967, and was subsequently in the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1980.

Helen Lansdowne Resor

At the turn of the 20th century, World Manufacturing Co., which made toilet preparations, hired Helen Lansdowne straight out of high school. It was the start of a series of career moves that would bring Lansdowne into the advertising world as a copywriter, by the year 1908, Stanley Resor opened a Chicago branch of J. Lansdowne was hired by Walter Thompson Co. as the agency’s first female copywriter.

When women were not usually considered for roles like this in advertising, this was no small accomplishment. As an advertiser and marketer, Lansdowne produced campaigns for clients such as Pond’s Cold Cream, the Red Cross, the YMCA, and the government.

Several forms of advertising, including advertorials that promote products while resembling the surrounding editorials, were created by Lansdowne. JWT was brought into being by her as an artist. In 1967, the Advertising Hall of Fame inducted Lansdowne, who hugely influenced advertising.

Bernice Fitz-Gibbon

Fitz-Gibbon was born in 1894 and lived on a farm in Waunakee, Wisconsin. She worked at small newspapers before moving to New York City, earning a degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She worked on the Macy’s account and was responsible for the slogan “It’s smart to be thrifty.” Her command of the English language and intelligence made her a powerful force in the advertising industry.

She started a revolution in in-store promotions and created some of the most memorable ads and taglines ever written. Fitz-Gibbon believed that her most significant accomplishment was in retail advertising, called “build up.”

This technique used the small spaces at the top of newspaper ads to tell positive stories about the stores. Fitz-Gibbon’s skill with words made her a legend, and as she taught fresh young talent how to write, being “Fitz-trained” was something you could boast of on your resume.

Lisa Baird – CMO, United States Olympic Committee

The United States Olympic Committee named Lisa Baird their chief marketing officer in 2009. She leads a team of 60 marketing and sales professionals that raise and manage all commercial revenue through different marketing channels.

Since joining the USOC, she has been responsible for signing more than $700 million in sponsorship revenue. Before joining the Olympic Committee, Lisa had previously held marketing leadership positions at IBM and the National Football League.

Lisa Baird is also a board member of the Alliance for Youth Sports. The Alliance’s mission is to promote youth participation and leadership in sports and to ensure access to opportunities for all young people. Clare Balding – BBC Sports Presenter Clare Balding has been a presenter on BBC’s Grandstand and other BBC programs since 1993.

She is currently the only female presenter of a main-time sporting program on BBC One. Clare regularly presents on both the BBC’s Formula 1 coverage and the BBC’s coverage of the Paralympics.

Katrina Craigwell – Director of Brand Solutions Marketing, Meta

Before taking on her current role in 2020, she was promoted to VP of Global Marketing Innovation at GE Digital after 6 years at the company. She launched GE Neuro, which gave viewers a tour through the brain, and helped lead the company into virtual reality.

She is a force in marketing with her innovation, but she also promotes women and women of color in the marketing industry.

In 2013, she was named one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune Magazine and was honored by The White House for her work in the Digital Media sector. In 2017, she was named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business.

At GE, she has led marketing programs that included the development of new ways to use data and the creation of new technologies for marketing. She is also a leader in diversity in technology. She was the first woman ever to head up the marketing team for the GE Appliances division.


There are many famous women in advertising. They have helped to change the way we think about advertising in general. Some have changed the way that advertising works, and others have focused on developing new products.

Women have been heavily involved in advertising for quite a while. Women were hired to work in different positions in advertising companies back in the 1800s. Women have worked in various roles and accomplished much in the past 200 years. 

Today, many female celebrities work in the field of advertising. These celebrities have made considerable contributions to the advertising world. In addition, many famous women in advertising are still active today. 

Some of them are well-known worldwide, and their contributions to the advertising industry are legendary. Women have made incredible contributions to the advertising industry and have become some of the most influential figures in advertising history.

In this article, we discuss the most influential women in advertising history. We gave you a brief history of the industry and shared our top favorite famous women in advertising.