Astrid von Rudloff is a CEO of Weber Shandwick in Germany and the only German member of the first PR Jury in the Cannes Lions. On the ocasion of Cannes Lions 2009 we asked Astrid about her opinion on women in the PR industry.
Astrid von Rudloff oversees the five Weber Shandwick offices in Germany. She has more than 20 years’ experience in PR and marketing communications, with particular expertise in brand and consumer PR and issues management, in addition to market and opinion research.
Astrid has advised national and international companies including Siemens, Wrigley, Procter & Gamble, Deutsche Telekom, Nestlé, Bacardi-Martini, eBay, Samsung and Bertelsmann, as well as a number of industry associations and government ministries. She is vice-president of the German Association of PR Agencies (GPRA) and a member of the Board of the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO).
Cannes Lions is maybe the most important advertising festival and it receives the best ad pieces, doesn’t it frighten you?
On the contrary – I’m looking forward to the best of the best!
When referring to Communication, there are people who think only in advertising, is Public Relations the “little brother”?
Really? Do they still exist?
It is said that advertising is too demanding for women who want to have a healthy family life. Does this occur in PR?
The challenge of combining career and family for women is no different between the communication disciplines. It’s much rather a question of how society and politics support it.
What could be the percentage of women and men in a regular PR agency, approximately?
Overall, I’d say 50:50. But there are some areas that tend to attract the genders differently – like finance or sports PR for men or brand, food and fashion PR, where women outnumber their male colleagues.
And in the top positions?
In Germany still mostly men – apart from the international network agencies.
In PR (maybe less than in advertising, but still) some campaigns you create are aimed exclusively at women. Which features do you take into account?
Our PR work is very rarely gender-specific. But as we have always worked with clearly defined target groups, I see less of a general male perspective in PR than in advertising.
Do you think that there are enough target insights done when it comes to women-oriented products?
Yes, we have really good research material on female consumer insights here – uncountable studies on female perceptions of every product/service imagineable.
Did you ever need to fight with your collages over what could possibly work (or not) with female target?
Of course! Especially as female PR consultants do not necessarily represent the general female public.
Which is, in your opinion, this year best campaign made by women?
It’s not always clear who’s behind which campaign – and I haven’t seen most campaigns that are in the festival yet.
And the one of a product or service for women?
Due to your experience, is there something like a female factor in creativity?
Maybe surprisingly: pragmatism. Women tend to look for a good solution; men look for the big idea.
To sum up, a brief test:
Your best campaign: Too many to pick one.
A nowadays campaign that you like the most: I like all campaigns that play with a sense of irony and offer more than one perspective.
A friend from work: Gail Heimann from Weber Shandwick New York – according to Advertising Age, one of the ‘Women to watch’
One creative female professional: British artist Tracey Emin.
An advice for young creatives: Do not seek praise. Seek criticism. (Paul Arden)
A farewell: Let the crisis give us wings.
Thank you very much for your time and dedication.