JWT, the largest advertising agency in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the world, has named the top 25 women it defines as Atalantas.
Atalantas, a consumer group newly identified by JWT, are young women who embrace their independence: They are confident, passionate, adventuresome and unwilling to settle for anything less than the best. They neither conform to negative stereotypes of single women (cold, lonely or sad) nor do they pursue the excesses of less discriminating peers like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.
These women represent a growing segment of the young female demographic, notes Marian Salzman, executive vice president, chief marketing officer of JWT Worldwide. Marketers and the media -- often a beat behind in understanding important shifts in the real world population -- too often see young single women as Bridget Jones-style sad-gal singletons or out-of-control partyers. "Truly reveling in their 'me' years, Atalantas are eagerly sampling life, love and leisure," says Salzman. "And they are forming relationships with a multitude of brands -- household goods, electronics, cosmetics, fashion, food, beverages and many more -- that may last a lifetime. As with the sought-after market of single 18- to 34-year-old males, with each passing year the earning power and expendable income of these women will rise, making them increasingly lucrative and appealing for marketers."
In Greek mythology, Atalanta broke with convention and refused to settle down until she finished her education and saw the world; when she finally did marry, it was on her own terms. "Today's strong-willed single twentysomething is a contemporary Atalanta," says Ann Mack, director of trendspotting at JWT. "She's a huntress -- especially when it comes to her personal, professional and sexual pursuits -- and also an adventurer, experimental and exploratory in nature."
Upon being named an Atalanta to Watch, sitar player Anoushka Shankar, the daughter and protege of legendary sitar virtuoso and composer, Ravi Shankar, said, "Traits that define an Atalanta Woman -- such as an assertiveness of individuality, commitment to causes, a strong drive and belief in oneself and the inspiration to push one's career and personal life forward with passion and verve -- are characteristics I've always admired and strived towards; therefore, I am honored to be included in this esteemed group of women."
How to Spot an Atalanta
-- She is independent: Single throughout her 20s, she is unwilling to settle for less than the best. -- She has a bold attitude: And a lot of it. Some may call her unswaying or stubborn; we see it as her need to assert herself. -- She loves to travel: A yearning for adventure and a spirit that can't be contained in one place is part of what makes her unique. -- She stands out wherever she is, both for her ideals and her devil-may- care attitude. -- Living in the public eye may not define the Atalanta, but it's something she is comfortable with and sometimes relishes.
JWT's Top 25 Atalantas to Watch
Here, in alphabetical order, are 25 women who today embody everything Atalanta:
Fiona Apple (29): Her motto is "Go with yourself," and she is unwilling to compromise her actions, beliefs and music for anyone or anything.
Song Aree (20), Ahn Shi Hyun (22), Grace Park (27) and Pak Se Ri (29): These LPGA winners are a source of pride and inspiration to a generation of South Korean women. They are making a name for themselves with style, grace and a sweet short game.
Rachel Bilson (25): This petite vixen admits to an unwillingness to take no for an answer and says her drive has been the key to her success.
Alexis Bledel (25): Conservative and classy, she leads a quiet, private life -- all the more appealing as an alternative to the Lindsay Lohans of the showbiz world.
Alice Braga (23): A startlingly raw femininity, fearless physicality and clear intelligence define this actress, who is looking to open doors for Brazilian cinema.
Gisele Bundchen (26): A globe-trotting workhorse with an inability to settle down, this astute model-businesswoman has an estimated net worth of around $150 million.
Lauren Bush (22): This up-and-coming member of the Bush family has a range of interests -- don't expect the busy model/goodwill ambassador to settle down anytime soon.
Charlotte Church (21): The girl with the "voice of an angel" is all grown up and ready to flex her muscles. She is equally concerned with stretching herself and growing as a performer.
Chelsea Clinton (26): Two words describe Chelsea: above reproach. Something not all children of the White House have achieved.
Kirsten Dunst (24): An unabashedly going-out kind of girl who enjoys the perks fame has brought. Travel and the chance to broaden her appeal overseas are now her focus.
Anne Hathaway (25): The girl next door, a self-admitted fashion victim who would rather dress for comfort than style, is now taking on darker roles.
Scarlett Johansson (22): She's turned her husky voice and voluptuousness into an industry, always seeming to take the fleeting nature of fame with a grain of salt.
Alicia Keys (26): The teen prodigy turned musical tour de force, known for boldly expressing her opinion, is now branching out into acting.
Keira Knightley (21): A "brash," "outspoken" and "vulgar" rising star -- she has recently become a pro at deflecting critics with candid responses and a quick wit.
Karolina Kurkova (22): An intense and energetic model, she's a favorite of designers, editors and photographers the world over for her beauty and generous nature.
Mia Maestro (28): This Argentinean actress poised for Hollywood cross-over success has begun to defy notions of how Latina stars should pursue their careers.
M.I.A. (28): After getting censored by media in the U.S., the U.K. and Sri Lanka, this rapper/artist/refugee with a radical approach is only amused by the controversy.
Margherita Missoni (23): The best-dressed heir apparent to the Missoni empire counts muse, brand ambassador and spokesmodel among her titles.
Sania Mirza (20): India's midriff-bearing, in-your-face, unapologetic tennis phenom.
Petra Nemcova (27): The Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model turned tsunami survivor and philanthropist.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (20): Termed the "most powerful young women in Hollywood," these twins are more than just actresses -- they're entrepreneurs.
Natalie Portman (25): The new Audrey Hepburn is an adventurer who would rather be smart than be a movie star.
Anoushka Shankar (25): Comfortably straddling the divide between tradition and modernity, this independent, driven and beautiful young sitar player is a concert favorite around the world.
Julia Stiles (25): A self-described feminist, this actress is unafraid of making controversial statements, both personal and political.
Ivanka Trump (25): The daughter of America's most famous entrepreneur started out as a model, grew into a businesswoman and is now set to become a superstar thanks to "The Apprentice."
Serena (25) and Venus Williams (26): Despite injuries, these two tennis champions have hardly been idle. And though controversy follows them, the sisters just ignore their naysayers.
Li Yuchin (21): This Chinese "Idol" is a tomboy, not a China doll, and her disregard for rules and unabashed individuality have turned her into a national icon.
Ziyi Zhang (27): "China's gift to Hollywood" is a slim charmer with big talent whose accomplishments are inspirational for many thousands of women.
JWT's heritage of brand-building excellence extends back to 1864, making us the world's oldest advertising agency brand. Today we rank as the fourth largest global agency and the largest U.S. agency. In 1939, JWT pioneered the first national consumer research panel. In 1988, we created the first research study of consumer lifestyles, "Life Stages." We believe in being anthropologists first, advertising people second. JWT is owned by WPP Group (NASDAQ: WPPGY).
Contacts: Ann Mack Director of Trendspotting JWT T: 212-210-7378 Email Contact Jan Sneed PR Consultant T: 917-543-4125 Email Contact