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Madonna Badger is the CCO of the Manhattan based ad agency Badger & Winters, and can we all take a moment here to admire how awesome her name is? Madonna Badger.
OK, moving on, Ms Badger has influenced your life more than you know, at least she has mine. She worked on the Calvin Klein campaigns with Kate Moss & Mark Wahlberg that covered Times Square and every inch of fashion media in 1992. She Launched Allure magazine, the only beauty magazine I ever subscribed to, because the hunt for the perfect red lipstick will never end. And Allure was such a refreshing detour from your usual 6-foot tall girl lounges in underwear and shoes I can't afford magazine that was otherwise on offer. "Hi, we're all about makeup, and you and your face and you would look great in that eye-shadow", Allure said, and suddenly my miniscule college budget found a way to buy it. That magazine told a generation of NYC club kids where to find the matte makeups, apart from at Patricia Fields.
Timing, you see, is everything. Timing, and execution. Ms Badger used to be the queen of both, having introduced us all to topless Kate Moss & Mark.
The timing of this ad, called #WomenNotObjects is right on the tail of feminist hashtags, protests and media campaigns like #heforshe, slutwalks, and #freethenipple.
Femen and Pussy Riot are practically household names, while Cardiff University considered not allowing Germaine Greer to hold a talk. In Short, feminism and women's issues are red hot right now, and sometimes still silenced because they're oh-so-dangerous to society.
So this is the ad created by Ms Badger's agency, it seems to vow that at least this agency will stop objectifying women. An agency run by a woman, is different, you see. Thats their agency USP.
Now, while it's expertly done, and actually rather funny in parts, like who wants "a man that smells like a vagina"? - this feels like a ride on the issue hijacking train.
While we all agree that sexist ads are bad for everyone, or at least I do, and we should just quit doing them, the first step would be to stop - not to turn the issues heat onto oneself as a spotlight, or use it as a springboard into fame.
And for a CCO like Ms Badger, who has a stellar career, and work for globally recognized names, clients such as Vera Wang, Make Up Forever and Chanel, well she knows exactly how sex and biological urges within humans are used to trigger desire. We design animated mascots to talk to kids about cereal, of course we're letting a beautiful's woman's blouse slide down her shoulder to suggest something. We have clients who sell really really red lipstick that want only that to be seen, and end up with an image that might remind some of bondage-scenes with blindfolds and bites. But sure, Ms Badger's agency, meant no harm then.
Another one of Ms Badger's agencies client's is Jennifer Aniston with her co-owned brand "Living Proof". I've run into this superbly well-groomed woman in real life and can vouch for the fact that she indeed looks terrific, and so do her equally well-groomed legs, but is that a reason to be putting her, half-naked, in ads? For hair products? I'm seriously asking here. At what point does it get sexist? When the CCO is a man? Is there a bingo-card we need to fill in to know when?
Look, I'm not trying to be dense here, but if you look at Vogue, Esquire, and so on, the magazines that told women how to look, and dictated fashions every whim. The places that birthed a thousand trends, and every eating disorder, these magazines have women at the helm and women as their art and style directors. Grace Coddington showed us fairytales and you, Ms Badger, showed us our individual glamour and rode the matte red lipstick on our generations sudden individual what's up cannonball style non-fashion revolution. Ms Badger was there when we went from matte primaries to glittery skin.
So, while Tom Ford as a gay man may get really crude in his ads attempting to sell foreign heterosexual sex - creating a visual idea that can be misunderstood as some sort of "pussy scented perfume" - maybe we should leave the women to it. Because knowing Ms Badger's portfolio, she has had an outstanding career, what really bothers me isn't the women depicted in her photos - rather that fact that she, as so many other women, are currently ignored by generation Instagram who have no idea who walked these roads before them. Twitter celebs are screaming for more female CCO's while mocking or ignoring the work created by the ones who are already there.
And the only way a woman with a career like that and clients like this would get generation Instagram's attention, was by sailing their cause du jour. We're almost ten years from Dove onslaught of 2007, so it's nice to be late to the party? While you have pantless models suggestively bite cherries in Diane von Furstenberg interior ads, we'll try to remember that the woman who created those designs and your CCO aren't being sexist, because they're women.