Views from Ad Week: When Will We All Be Equal?

Dominique Fyson is Senior Innovation Manager in the *multiply team, Posterscope.
Diversity was certainly one of the hot topics discussed this year at AdWeek Europe, with numerous seminars dedicated to discussing the need for more woman in top positions, and in fact a more diverse work culture in general, to have a successful business and to keep the advertising industry moving forward. However, many seem frustrated at the rate of change and that leads me to wonder, are we really acknowledging and combating the main issues?
I sat in one session where an all-woman panel spent 25 minutes discussing how having a baby is the tipping point that impacts your career, with a consensus that this was the main reason we don’t have enough woman in top positions. However, in my opinion this view is quite outdated. More agencies are offering their staff flexible working hours, the ability to work from home and joint maternity/paternity leave. So if the environment now facilitates woman with children, and we know more families have two working parents than any other generation, why do agencies see a significant decline in female employees once they hit their early 30s, and even more so in top positions.
I feel a lot of it comes down to the personality roles men and women are encouraged to play, which contributes to some women needing additional support in order to progress. Society dictates that women should be quieter and more emotionally lead than their male counterparts. And therefore some women have a tendency to find situations like discussing pay and promotion in the work force difficult and awkward.
As women, we can struggle to discuss our capabilities confidently, and while some women might think I am being stereotypical, many female friends I’ve asked admit they feel uncomfortable pushing a pay increase they felt they deserved, especially if initially denied. And since discussing pay and promotion between colleagues is generally seen as a taboo topic, quite often they never receive the encouragement or confidence they need to fight their corner.
This compounds even further when we start to look at leadership characteristics, there are numerous studies that have investigated the personality traits of CEOs in particular, and have categorised them as being driven, manipulative and fairly unemotional.
Now I think that’s a pretty narrow view, however I think many would agree that it does take certain qualities to make it to the top of a large business or agency. These could include being driven and confident, but you also need to be a risk taker and a fairly tough-minded individual with an ability to take criticism and learn from it. Again, qualities that might be more natural to men than the ‘emotional’ female.
However, there is a great need to have more people in top positions that break the traditional CEO mould, and instead are in the position due to their great business skills and even their empathy for their staff.
Tracey De Groose, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network UK and Ireland, is one of these women. She is a CEO, a mother and forceful driver of equality in the workplace, and it’s clear that she intends Dentsu Aegis Network to be leaders in this diversity debate, which has been demonstrated through the launch of new digital agency ‘Fortysix’ at AdWeek.
Fortysix, formed in partnership with Freeformers, a digital transformation business that mentors a young person for every commercial project it runs, has been created to give new business solutions to clients, and will be entirely staffed by young people from diverse backgrounds. Dentsu Aegis Network has also recently launched a Woman in Leadership program, aimed to give women additional support as they move towards senior management.
It’s initiatives like this that are going to change the balance of agency boardrooms. It will give woman more confidence to speak of their abilities and push them to be seen an equal to men in their respective fields regardless of potential different skillsets.
However, even with these type of initiatives, agencies need to work hard at dropping unconscious bias, which will be challenging. I went to two panel sessions which focused on equality for women in the workplace, and both panels were made up of only women. And looking around it was clear the audience was 95% female. Potentially this is our own unconscious bias coming through: that only women should be speaking up on female roles and unfortunately it seems to be mainly women that are listening. I believe we need to welcome more men to openly advocate equality and to do this we need to encourage and welcome them to join in the discussions.
When we all take responsibility into our own hands to move forward, then, only then, do we have a chance on one day all being represented as equal.

Views from Ad Week: Diversity Builds creativity- What I Learnt Last Week at Ad Week

Harriet is Marketing Content Manager at Posterscope, psi and psLIVE.
Frenzied and energised. This was the mood at AdWeek, during the first morning of the four day event.
As advertisers, marketers, ‘media people’ and brands paced the corridors whilst security guards tried to retain order, one thing was clear: this engaged group of people were ready for the eventful week to come.
As my first Advertising Week Europe, my expectations were high and the sessions didn’t disappoint.
I attended two events on Monday, our Posterscope midday session, Storytellers will rule the world and IPA’s 2:00pm session, Who run the world, Girls.
Pleasingly, women were well represented at both of these sessions. Each session consisted entirely of female panellists and the sessions were chaired by Julian Linley of Digital Spy and the IPA’s President Tom Knox respectively.
Diversity is an issue close to my heart, and is often talked about in terms of gender and race. There are the other aspects of diversity we often don’t speak about for example age, culture and other elements that benefit diversity such as cross industry collaboration. Although the advertising industry has a way to go in achieving diversity, both of these sessions got me thinking about how the advertising industry is going about striving to achieve this.
The Posterscope session’s panel was made up of three expert content creators, all of whom have challenged business and marketing norms to build successful, content-based businesses: Sam Baker co-founder, CEO and Editor of The Pool, Kate Thornton founder and editor-in-chief of TBSeen and Gizzi Erskine British chef and award winning food writer.
These entrepreneurial women presented three very different ideas explaining how they would use their content on digital out-of-home (DOOH). They each brought audience insight, awareness and content acumen to their strategies.
The Pool focuses on quality content over quantity, respecting a woman’s busy schedule. Each piece of content is released on a timeline throughout the day and informs the reader the amount of time it will take to consume that content. Therefore, Sam Baker’s strategy focused on timing: owning the commuting journey, bookending a woman’s day with content and information relevant to their frame of mind in the morning versus evening.
Adweek - MU - DEP - The Pool - (002)
Much-loved chef, author, pop-up-restaurant-extraordinaire Gizzi Erskine is a walking, talking, tweeting content creator. Her concept challenged the traditional way the publishing industry works, and took a fresh look at photographic content in DOOH. She focused on providing inspirational images, timed around festive events, from her upcoming book Season’s Eatings, to whet the appetite and give audiences inspiration on what to cook.
At its heart TBSeen is a cash back website. ‘Another?’ I hear you cry. The founders know their audience, and made the essential decision to differentiate TBSeen from competitors by focusing on content first and retail secondary. This ingenious idea has created a community, far beyond a purchase opportunity. Kate Thornton’s strategy mixed useful style hacks with pure entertainment, to provide helpfulness and also bit of light relief, which often gets forgotten.
These women enlightened, inspired an entertained, showing us three new approaches to DOOH with clear strategies that linked to their businesses.
Stepping out of the Posterscope session, I sat down for the IPA’s Who run the world, Girls.
I was looking forward to hearing from another three successful women from a range of creative industries: Harriet Vine Creative Director and Founder of jewellery label Tatty Devine, Lauren Lavern Broadcaster and co-founder of The Pool, and Cat Lewis, CEO and Executive Producer of Nine Lives Media.
This session discussed how workplaces, and specifically advertising workplaces, can encourage gender diversity. Go girls!
Three main themes were discussed.
Changing existing work structures. ‘In our industry, we have this belief that it is essential the client always comes first,’ said Cat Lewis, explaining that this is believed to only be possible in the existing 9 to 5 structure. Her solution was to take the plunge and embrace flexible working options instead of discounting because they haven’t worked before. As each workplace is different it might take several attempts to find the right working structure that works and still focuses on client service.
Female representation in untraditional roles. ‘I remember feeling angry, and I’ve fed off the energy that anger gave me,’ said Harriet Vine. All three women spoke of their experiences building creative businesses and then experiencing an eye opening moment, finding the ‘gatekeepers,’ the financial controllers, were all men, from similar backgrounds who they would have to justify their creative ideas to.
Working with children, not around them. ‘You don’t realise there’s a glass ceiling until you hit it,’ said Lauren Laverne. All three women have allowed their employees to bring children to work in different ways, some have even done this themselves. Another important point was to continue to involve women whilst on maternity leave (if they choose), so they didn’t feel disconnected or left out of what was happening at work.
These sessions left me with two clear thoughts. After the first session I was impressed that three women from outside industries were able to provide a different perspective and such an accurate insight into DOOH.
My second thought was that diversity, whether gender, cultural, racial or cross industry (or even age diversity) facilitates greater creativity.
I’d like to hope we’re able to go one step further. Instead of providing quick-fix solutions to diversity questions, in this instance I’d like to challenge us to do the reverse. Let’s enquire more deeply, call out the problems and issues we see. If we start to notice the tiny, small things that we assume are negligible we will not only draw awareness to these topics, but also be able to sort through the answers together.
By doing this we will not only achieve greater creativity but also greater diversity of thought. And that can only be a good thing for our day jobs.

China’s ‘Leftover Women’ Ask to Marry for Love in Beauty Campaign

Sheng Nu literally translates to ‘leftover woman’, says Li Yu Xuan, a 33-year old single Chinese woman. “It refers to women over 27 who are not married.”
To shine a spotlight on Chinese women being labelled as a ‘Sheng Nu’, international skincare brand SK-II has released a short four minute film called ‘Marriage Market Takeover’. The campaign aims to highlight that everyone should have the freedom to marry for love and not because of familial or societal pressure.
Since 2004, parents in Shanghai (that’s the only place highlighted) have visited the Marriage Market, paying to post, compare and match personal ads, listing the height, weight, salary, values and personality of their sons and daughters. In some cases, according to the release sent over and Wikipedia (haaaa), women are unaware that their parents have listed them at a marriage market.
For this campaign, SK-II placed photos of hundreds of unmarried women alongside positive messages from each – ‘I don’t want to get married just for the sake of marriage. I won’t live happily that way’ says one below the face of Li Yu Xuan.
The campaign aims to help change the perception of the word and place emphasis on the individual rights of women (a not entirely unhelpful message if your aim is to sell make-up to them, obviously).
Video below:
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Via: PR Examples 

Adidas' The X training Experience in London

Adidas has opened a pop-up workout space in Victoria Park in East London called the X.

The X-shaped tent stands in the centre of the East London park and is open for 10 days from 18 February, offering different kinds of training to women of all fitness and abiility levels.

Adidas will also be offering runs, fitness classes, Q&A sessions with brand experts, nutrition advice and supper clubs. Victoria Park’s running track will also be lit up for late-night events.

The idea is to push Adidas’ new running shoe for women, the PureBoost X, and bolster the brand’s standing with female athletics. The brand recently hired the former chief executive of Lululemon, Chrstine Day, as an adviser to its womenswear division.

It’s also championing female athletes in its latest campaign, ‘I’m here to create’.

To find out more about whats going on click here.

Planned by psLIVE and Carat.

Via: Marketing Magazine