Honorees Speak on Broad Range of Advertising Issues

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NEW YORK ( -- Ann Fudge, one of Advertising Age's Women to Watch in 1997, told this year's group of honorees that
Ann Fudge, chairman-CEO of Y&R Advertising.
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she never imagined herself where she is today.

Speaking at the Women to Watch 2003 luncheon at the New York Hilton, attended by 750 people yesterday, she said: "If someone had told me I'd be playing a part in this industry, I'd have said you've got to be kidding." Back then she was president of Maxwell House Coffee; now she's chairman and CEO of advertising agency network WPP Group's Young & Rubicam Inc.

'Had to dance'
Explaining what marks out stars in any industry Ms. Fudge quoted a choreographer who said: "I didn't want people who wanted to dance, I wanted people who had to dance." Ms. Fudge continued: "The most important person in the room is the one who knows what to do next. That is our business in a nutshell. Agencies who soar are the ones that definitely know what happens next."

Fourteen of the 22 women honored, drawn from diverse marketing backgrounds from technology and packaged goods to magazines, online outlets and agencies, were asked to deliver short speeches about the challenges faced in each of their separate industries.

Putting the customer first was the theme of two speeches. One came from Allison Johnson, senior vice president of global brand and communications for Hewlett-Packard Co., who said she works in an industry of engineers. "I urge everyone to think about the customer first. You have to be ready to bet your job every day" in service of that ethos. The second was from Deb Henretta, president of global baby care for Procter & Gamble Co., who said her challenge was building global brands that made emotional connections with consumers, while looking for better and cheaper products.

Most impassioned
Former industrial engineer Anne Baxter Rewey, director of marketing at McNeil Nutritionals' Splenda, delivered one of the most impassioned speeches of the day, imploring people to work together to find ways to combat the problem of obesity and diabetes. "You can't help read about obesity. One in three will be diabetic. As an organization we are trying to deliver solutions. ... Let's have the guts to innovate. We can provide a lot of help for the kids not on the right track right now."

Meanwhile Spike DDB President Dana Wade said she'd like to see the ad industry address the issue of diversity to make the workplace look different. Ms. Wade called on anyone interested in knowing about good candidates to give her a call. "Hispanics, African Americans and Asians are the people who lead the trends."

Other issues raised include the continuing need to nurture talent, the battle against commoditization and finally, in the words of Emma Cookson, Bartle Bogle Hegarty's global head of strategic planning, the need for the industry to "immature with age," in other words, to regain that confident attitude of youth.

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