‘Copygirl’ shares trials of a Modern Day Peggy Olson

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New Novel ‘Copygirl’ Shares the Trials and Tribulations of A Modern Day Peggy Olson
September 23, 1015

By Richard Whitman

M

ichelle Sassa, a copy writer who has worked for Berlin Cameron United, McCann-Erickson and several other agencies, is about to publish a new book called Copygirl. The book, in Sassa’s own words, “chronicles the (ahem) fictional exploits of a female copywriter trying to beat the boys’ club at their own inane game of keep away.”

An early Publishers Weekly review noted, ‘Here’s what happens when girl power storms Mad Men…wickedly funny and smartly sweet.” Sassa understands comparisons to Mad Men and, in particular, the character Peggy Olsen who had her own battle with the boys’ club, are inevitable. However, she says her real inspirations for the book were her fellow ad women and not those sexist Mad Men.

Of her early experiences working in agencies, Sassa wrote, “In my first advertising job, I was expected to water my boss’ plants, shop for his dress shirts and buy gifts for his mother. Fine, I was paying my dues as a lowly assistant, but the last straw was when he pinched my butt. Needless to say, I let that pig’s plants die.”

Of her continued struggles, she added, “Moving up the ranks of the creative department should have shielded me from such chauvinism, right? Wrong. I can’t even count how many times I got sent into new business pitches to ‘chick up the room.’ When it was time to write for Summer’s Eve, Midol or Maidenform, you can bet they didn’t ask the boys’ club. But we have to decide how we’re going to fight and I decided to band together with the women around me and make sure I was doing work that couldn’t be ignored.”

One partner actually told me to my face that there would never be a female creative director at his agency ever!

Even a bit more horrifying and a nod to the continued dearth of women in creative director roles, Sassa wrote, “One partner actually told me to my face that there would never be a female creative director at his agency ever! But the clients loved my work, so he was forced to pay me like one anyway.”

My how times haven’t changed at all.

The book goes on sale October 6 and you can order it here .

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