Ad Age is marking Pride Month 2023 with our Honoring Creative Excellence package, in which LGBTQ+ creators revisit some of their favorite projects. (Read the introduction here.) Today, our guest editor Lucas Crigler turns the spotlight to Ogilvy Strategy Director Billy LePage. Here, LePage writes about helping to launch period-care brand Cycle during his time at McCann Worldgroup.
Author bell hooks once described queer identity as “the self that is at odds with everything around it and that has to invent and create and find a place to speak and to thrive and to live.”
I have found this to be an innate and enduring truth in advertising and in life. We, as queer people, live and work in a world that was not designed for us. In fact, much of it is designed to keep us down. That’s why there are endless examples of queer people reimagining the status quo.
Reflecting on my own career as a strategist and creative thinker, the work most meaningful to me has centered around innovation in service of the queer community. “It’s just advertising—we’re not saving lives here” is a phrase that I’ve heard countless times. While that may be true of many projects I’ve been involved in, it’s not true of “Cycle x Freda,” a powerful campaign I had the privilege of working on with a brilliant team at McCann Worldgroup.