Rising the ranks in advertising: meet Toronto’s chief creative officer Denise Rossetto

Click to play video: 'Rising the ranks in advertising: meet Toronto’s chief creative officer Denise Rossetto' Rising the ranks in advertising: meet Toronto’s chief creative officer Denise Rossetto
WATCH ABOVE: The advertising world has historically been a male dominated industry. However, over the last decade that has been changing. Broken Heart Love Affair's chief creative officer Denise Rossetto speaks with Katherine Ward about what is has been like rising the ranks, and her vision for the future of women in the profession. – Mar 8, 2021

For decades, advertising agencies have been a world dominated by men. One only has to think of the TV show Mad Men to get an idea of what the industry has been like historically.

However, over the last decade, there has been a shift. Denise Rossetto, chief creative officer and a partner with Broken Heart Love Affair, has witnessed the evolution firsthand throughout her career.

“In the beginning, I would walk into a board room, and especially if it was something like a beer account or a car account … I would be the only female voice in the room,” Rossetto said.

Read more: Majority of Canadians say gender equality not achieved in the country: poll

Rossetto has worked on several high-profile campaigns, including “Right to Play,” “Pink Tax,” and “Change the Work Climate.” As she cut her teeth in the business, Rossetto said she relied on female mentors as well as her own instincts to carve out a path and climb the ranks.

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The 3% movement cites a study from the late 2000s which suggested that while women were responsible for 80 per cent of consumer transactions, only three per cent of creative directors in the United States, at the time, were female.

Rossetto said the industry is changing, but there is room for improvement.

For her the focus is simple: everyone, regardless of race or gender, needs to be at the table in order to be equally represented.

Read more: Canadian women are on track to reach gender equality in 164 years, experts say

“It elevates creativity, it elevates our client’s business results and effectiveness, and it’s also the right thing to do,” Rossetto said.

“I can think of Nike, I can think of Throw Like a Girl, I can think of all of these amazing campaigns that, without women, we would still be stuck in the 1950s.”

Looking ahead, Rossetto said the goal is to keep that momentum going and bring more young women into the industry. She hopes to help ensure the next generation has more than enough room for their voices to be heard and respected.

“I’m really proud of the women that I know in the business who are really working hard for the women coming up.”


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