Matt Williams posted an interview titled An Hour of Advertising with Uninvisibility’s Jane Evans. The interview includes challenges of breaking into a male-dominated industry in the early 1980s, her significant accomplishments, general commentary about the advertising industry and how it has changed in the digital era, and the challenges of getting work at age 50.
On working in Australia. « Over there it’s a lot ‘rougher’. It’s not quite so ‘intellectual’. But through that roughness you can get some fucking honesty out of it. I think Australia to this day produces some cool, raw ideas. I think English advertising is more intellectual, I think American advertising is a bit more flash, but every year there’s some sort of down-and-dirty idea that comes out of Australia that you were always looking for. »
« What made Christen the best Creative Director you’ve worked for? Christen was the best because he’d let others speak. He’d go into a meeting and even if it lasted five hours, he’d let everyone have their say. He’d listen to them all and then at the end he’d take everything and sum it up with brilliant wisdom. Because he was such a great strategic creative director, you could go to him with an inkling of an idea and in a very short amount of time he’d find a new way for you to look at it. »
« What I learned throughout my career was that the people who were the biggest blocks to my career were untalented Creative Directors. »
« How did the ‘digital’ industry come about for you then? Was it a case of learning as you went? Did you train for it? So for me this is where most of the women I knew were axed from the industry. Digital hit for my generation at the stage where we were starting to go off and have kids, and we left one type of industry and then came back and all of a sudden there was a whole skillset that we didn’t have. Those of us who carried on sort of moved with it. For me, my job was always about telling stories that moved culture. What the medium was, that didn’t actually change. A Facebook post could be the same as a poster. I can’t see where the line is. I’ve just written a book and one of the key points is that if you actually know the industry, nothing really changes that much. We’d get a brief in the 70s saying ‘how do you get people from the car park to the terminal using signage’. That’s no different from the UX briefs people are getting today. It’s the same processes — all it means is learning a new programme or new acronyms. »
« And it changed the dynamic of agencies too? Definitely. Because it brought in Graphic Designers and other ‘creatives’ who disrupted the copywriter-art director dynamic. In our minds as a traditional creative team, the communication is key and I’m not in competition with the copywriter. But what this new approach did was separate those two. The Graphic Designer got involved and became in competition with the copywriter rather than being a team. What this also did was bring in more male bullshit bravado. There was all these young guys coming in who had been on a 12-week ad course and could beat their chests and see who could try and win the most awards. We didn’t care about winning awards, we wanted our work to get noticed by heroes like John Hegarty and Dave Trott. But now you’d have people who’d play the game of winning awards. And the game of winning awards can be gamed. »
« And they took away our offices, they took away our ‘sheds’. You used to be able to shut that door, say the most ridiculous things on the planet — it’d be wrong, but you’d eventually get somewhere. So much that is magic about the industry has been lost. »
« Over three years I applied for 180 jobs. I got three interviews. »