Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Rebels, misfits and innovators: 50over50 – Jane Evans

50 Over 50 is a series of interviews with our most influential and inspiring industry leaders aged 50 and over. 

We think it’s time to recognise and celebrate the true talent in our industry, the creatives, technologists, founders and leaders that are really driving our industry and shaping society.

Jane Evans is an advertising creative with an impeccable radical pedigree, from creating the first ad showing a divorced couple to creating Australia’s first craft beer. She founded Janee in 2018 to communicate to and represent women over 50. Its first project, Uninvisibility, is ‘designed to create a new vision for the second half of life.’

The industry is starting to slowly change but we still have a long way to go. Cannes Lions may have launched its Cannes Grey Lions award this month, for people over the age of 50, but overall, Jane believes, “the industry has failed us and should hang its head in shame”.

What is the biggest mistake companies — brands or the industry – are making in their attitude to age today?

You wouldn’t dream of getting teenagers to create ads for people in their 30s.

Someone in their 20s, 30s or even 40s doesn’t have the life experience, sense of humour and ‘couldn’t give a fuckery’ to even make us notice their attempts.

What is your biggest regret about the industry today?

Gag orders! Oh, the stories I’ve heard. It’s appalling how many older women can’t tell their stories – some men in this industry are disgusting pigs and should be run out of the business.

The first women who arrived in the industry after equal opportunity legislation should be treated as fucking war heroes.

Women who fought to be taken seriously as creatives, who fought for things like paid maternity leave and sexual harassment laws, who stood their ground in the face of horrendous misogyny and abuse are just thrown on the scrap heap when they become unfuckable.

The industry has failed us and should hang its head in shame.

What one thing are you proudest of in your career?

Creating the James Squire beer brand in 1997, it’s now the biggest craft beer brand in Australia and when we came up with the idea there was no such thing as ‘craft beer’.

What creative heights are you now capable of that you wouldn’t have been able to achieve at the early or mid-point of your career?

Post menopause I finally have the confidence of a mediocre young white man but with 30+ years of experience and craft skills to back me up.

What gives you the most satisfaction in your role today?

Calling out the ridiculousness that women over 50 buy 47% of everything and there are next to no women over 50 creating the ads (and laughing when the kids try!)

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?

The awards and ego gratification are bullshit. The reward is having a voice that can change society.

What advice would you give your 25-year old self?

Keep fighting. It’s only the untalented bastards that will try and bring you down.

Hang in there and stay strong, you’re fucking good at what you do and you WILL have the last laugh.

What are you most excited about in your industry over the next 10 years?

Older women recognising they are the most powerful consumer group on the planet and using their spending power to buy the world they want.