Does the Executive Suite Match the Empowerment Message in the Ad?

September 22nd, 2014


Female empowerment sells. Just ask Dove whose sales after launching its “Real Beauty” campaign almost doubled. But are companies whose commercials tell women they can reach whatever heights they want walking the walk they talk in their ads?

Women CEOs hold only 4.8% of Fortune 500 CEO positions and held only 16.9% of board seats in 2013 (BTW, women made up 46.8 percent of the work force in 2013). took a look at the five highest paid executives, as listed in public SEC filings and corporate executive compensation documents, for companies running empowerment-themed ads.  As you can see from the graphic below, out of the companies who have run recent ads promoting female empowerment, only three have women among their top five earners.

All Companies 5

Don’t get us wrong — we totally support the messaging in these ads (and have posted many of them in our Ads We Like category). And we applaud the fact that 29 of Fortune’s 50 most powerful women in business work at Fortune 500 companies.

But the fact remains that there is a shockingly low (or non-existent) number of female executives at the pinnacle of the pay scale of the companies running these commercials. Meaning these companies are not heeding their own marketing message when it comes to the highest level executives, but are more than willing to cash in on the female empowerment movement.

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