Back in College- Just for a Night

Dean Loudermilk and Ellen Albert with the Alumnae Women of Emory board
Dean Loudermilk and Ellen Albert with the Alumnae Women of Emory board

Although Dean Loudermilk still teaches the semester long class at Emory University, Social Movements and the Media (the basis for the presentation): let’s just say it wasn’t your average college class last night! We had guests from Atlanta, attendees ranging over 20 class years and even a Cornell Alum who eagerly signed up to get in on the action too. Well, seems like everyone had the right idea, as the talk was spectacular—funny, futuristic and engaging all at the same time. It seemed as if everyone was laughing on cue, but really, it was just a good speech coupled with some racy images that boasted a broad appeal.

The event, hosted on November 11th at MTV Studios by Emory Alum, Ellen Albert, was from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., but it seemed like the crowd didn’t want to leave! We had a wonderfully diverse group of 30 guests. A surprising amount of men actually showed up to listen to the talk too, which was, even in the event description but more so in actuality, largely focused on feminism in advertising. Dean Loudermilk began by plowing through the history of various different social movements and their effect on the media, but guests became overwhelmingly engaged during the saga on feminism, which was presented in conjunction with commercials and ads. The presentation spanned the gamut of brands—beginning at Dolce & Gabbana, critiquing Virginia Slims and ending with oomph on Maidenform Bras.

At one point, an Emory Law Grad, Marni Galison, was so intrigued by an ad and Dean Loudermilk’s interpretation of it that she interrupted mid presentation to play devil’s advocate. In older Virginia Slims marketing, a lot of feminists hated the “You’ve come along way, baby” campaigns. Marni, after vehemently denying smoking, exclaimed: “Is there any cigarette ad that feminists do like?!” Her point, essentially, is that, if they inherently don’t like the product, they certainly will disapprove of the ad. But, we did see some commercials that feminists happened to be fonder of—for a sexy 45 seconds, I recommend checking out “The Diet Coke Break” on YouTube.

Regardless, thanks to Marni, the tone was set for an informative and inspiring feminist advertising debate post presentation. The group finally concluded, with Dean Loudermilk’s guidance, that feminism in advertising moves in waves and eventually always comes full circle. Last night, we learned that only 16 percent of people in senior advertising roles are women! So, who is really spurring the innovation here? Our best bet is that it stems from men in high positions with slight interferences by politics and presidential administrations. Keep your eyes peeled for the future because, just like with the Reagan and Clinton administrations, we are certain to see a new wave of advertising with the “Change” advocate, President Obama.

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