The feminine side of advertising


Interview to Paula Trabulsi – FIAP 2009 jury member

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paula2Business partner and director of BossaNovaFilms. With 20 years of professional experience working in Brasil and internationally. Her portfolio comprises over 2000 advertisements. She worked for the biggest brands as Unilever, Danone, Procter & Gamble. In 2005, with other five associates, she founded BossaNovaFilms and presently she is in charge of its board of directors.


AdWomen: This year FIAP celebrates its 40th anniversary. What the festival means to the Latin-American advertising?

Paula Trabulsi: I think that with time FIAP has become more important and gained value. FIAP is now one of the most important festivals in the region.


AdWomen: There are 4 women in the jury, is it a coincidence or a reflection of the advertising industry?

Paula Trabulsi: Both of them; it is a coincidence that I work as a director in the international market since 14 years now, and it is a reflection of reality that there were more women members of the jury this year.


AdWomen: Some people think that women contribute with different values to the process of creation. And others believe that these differences depend on people, and not sex. What do you think? What are these different values?

Paula Trabulsi: What I can say is that the female point of view (that is not exclusively women's thing; you can find men of this characteristic as well) is more detail-oriented. And the detail is what prevails, isn't it?


AdWomen: Is it more difficult for a woman to enter into the world of advertising than into other audiovisual sectors: cinema, television?

Paula Trabulsi: Of course there are some fields more masculine than others, but I think that the border is every time weaker and it tends to disappear. It works for the cited sectors as well.


AdWomen: Would it be easier for women to get into creative departments if there were more women working as creatives?

Paula Trabulsi: If what is needed is a female model, there are many generations of inspiring people as Camila Franco, Fernanda Romano… but the best is IMITATING or searching for the inspiration among CREATIVE MODELS.


AdWomen: In the areas directly related to advertising, as photography, film direction, postproduction, what's the importance of women in comparison with men?

Paula Trabulsi: In my opinion, women gain more and more importance in different sectors because market appreciates female features. For example, in the USA the best publishers are women (after all, "Publishing" is "sewing" images with care, gentleness, elegance…).


AdWomen: In international festivals only few campaigns directed to women win any prize. Which can be the reason?

Paula Trabulsi: My perception tells me that there are many campaigns of products aimed at women, but if just a campaign is "unisex", it aims at men.


AdWomen: Latin-American advertising happens to be labelled as sexist. Could female presence in creative teams change this situation?

Paula Trabulsi: I think that the problem is an infantile cultural perception, in general. People stop their cultural development at the mental age of 12 (just take a look at these  45 years-old-men dressed…the same as their TEENAGE CHILDREN). And so, jokes that inspire our advertising aim at this very age.


AdWomen: What are the core feminine stereotypes present in Latin-American advertising? Would it be necessary to dismiss them? A woman-mother, a woman-housewife…

Paula Trabulsi: I believe there are some stereotypes that never change: a grandma with grey hair, a beautiful girl with few clothes (beer adverts), a mother who works and takes care about home…

But stereotypes are: well known facts, assimilated by the society. We already have new models, but they didn't turn into clichés yet.


AdWomen: There are data that demonstrate that most of women do not feel identified with advertising. Which are the creative keys and strategies that connect with them the best?

Paula Trabulsi: Listen to them first and then develop new concepts and ideas for the product. Dove is a good example of how this method was put into practice. The "Real beauty" is an excellent concept of a brand.


AdWomen: Ruth Lee told us an anecdote about an advert directed to women but created by men, which did not connect with the female public Do you think it is necessary that a campaign aimed at women was created by women?

Paula Trabulsi: Wouldn't that be a short cut, an easy way? The other solution would be to look for men who have a feminine point of view (even though they are not that easy to find…).


AdWomen: Bec Brideson told to IHaveAnIdea that Gran Prix is usually won by the last beer spot. Would that change if there were more women among jury's members?

Paula Trabulsi:  I hope so!


To end up a brief questionnaire:

Your tip for young creative women: Choose a guide, someone you admire. But be wise at the moment of choosing. The guide will help you on your way.

A farewell: I wish people could communicate in a more poetic way. (It's a QUERY from my mum. The WISH that I SUPPORT)


Read more interviews here.



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