The 60-second interview: Mary Warlick, C.E.O., The One Club

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Mary Warlick. (Andrew Brucker)
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CAPITAL: The One Club, a nonprofit recognizing and promoting excellence in advertising, just redesigned its print magazine. What do you like most about the magazine's new formatting?

WARLICK: I really like the oversize format—it allows for visual story telling across large spreads, capturing the excitement and immediacy of the past events. Also, I like the quick sound bites, rendered in type, which gives the impression of quick interviews—very appropriate in a milieu of 30-second attention spans.

CAPITAL: What do you make of the proliferation of advertising awards shows? Why are they valuable and how do you think the industry should preserve their value?

WARLICK: There will always be a need for a few select advertising award shows. Creative people need to hear the applause and be rewarded for their work. The advertising awards shows are only as valuable as their perceived prestige. The judging process has to be transparent, democratic and unbiased. It is up to the organizers of the awards shows to preserve the integrity of the judging process.

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CAPITAL: How large a role will sponsored content play in the advertising industry in the future? What do you think of the way publications like The New York Times and Forbes have executed native ads so far?

WARLICK: Sponsored content, or branded entertainment will continue to grow in importance and in sophistication. Consumers like to be entertained, and they appreciate positive associations with brands, services and products that are presented as though the brand “gets it” and understands them. The New York Times is doing a very good job of expanding their news reach, beyond their print edition with Times Premier. It is advertising, but it peaks curiosity as well, the perfect foil for storytelling. Forbes is also being smart with headlines to enhance stories, and they are transparent.

CAPITAL: What's your favorite advertising campaign ever and why?

WARLICK: I really like the “Women’s campaign” for Nike which started back in 1992, launched in print with an 8 page supplement, and followed by strong commercials, such as “If You Let Me Play.” The message was clear, it spoke truthfully to several generations of young women at once, not promising them outrageous results, but a better lifestyle through exercise.

CAPITAL: Is “Mad Men” an accurate portrayal of the ad industry in 1960s? Do you think the show's popularity has improved or hurt the public's perception of advertising professionals?

WARLICK: “Mad Men” is fairly accurate from what I have read and researched about the era. They were spot on about the hierarchy of men and women in the creative departments. Yes, several women did break the glass ceiling in advertising agencies back in the day, but it was the exception not the rule. Phyllis K. Robinson, Mary Wells and Paula Green were hired as writers, they did not have to work their way up from the typing pool. These were exceptional women. And yes, people have told me that drinking martinis made most work after lunch difficult at best.

Absolutely, “Mad Men” has improved the public’s perception of advertising professionals. Even Don Draper, who comes across as a dark, mysterious shadowy figure, is more attractive than a bumbling Darrin Stephens of “Bewitched” who just ‘happens’ upon creative ideas.