Sunday, June 24, 2018

14198: Cannes Cons VII.

Advertising Age interviewed Sir John Hegarty at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, which the old man has been annually attending since 1989. Hegarty griped about the entries on display and stated, “Most of the print work is scam, you can tell it, you can see it a mile away. … I didn’t come here to look at somebody’s portfolio. I mean, fine, if you say to me, ‘This is the portfolio section,’ then fine I’ll go and have a look at it. But when you pretend that this is a piece of advertising that had an impact on the marketplace, forget it.” The other scams present at the exclusive event? All the executives—Hegarty included—falsely claiming to have a commitment to diversity. You can spot them a mile away.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

14197: #AssumeNothing At Cannes.

A MultiCultClassics visitor pointed to a Stylist story starring Pitch Editor Sherry Collins, who attended the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity three years ago, where an executive presumed she was a prostitute. Nice. Collins launched a campaign—#AssumeNothing—after learning that other Black female creatives had experienced similar bullshit at the annual event.

Hey, if Collins were to describe the scumbag who harassed her, would the artist’s sketch look like the image below?

Friday, June 22, 2018

14196: Sci-Fi Classic.

Science Fiction Writer Octavia Butler is being honored with today’s Google Doodle. Hey, Google’s commitment to diversity qualifies as science fiction.

14195: Cannes Cons VI.

Oh look! Adweek published a blurb featuring P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard:

“In the United States, if you’re not doing multicultural marketing, you’re not doing marketing,” said P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard during a panel discussion at the Dutch Embassy of Creativity. Pritchard noted that he’d like marketers to find a way to measure racial equality in their ads, similar to the ANA’s SeeHer movement for gender equality.

Don’t mean to sound redundant, but it’s just amazing how guys like Pritchard will promote White women by demanding quotas, calling for the end of stereotypes and throwing total support behind every pro-White-women initiative out there. Yet people of color are afterthoughts—or not thought of at all. BTW, when P&G created multicultural marketing messages in the past year, the assignments were given to White advertising agencies. And it’s a safe bet BBDO and Wieden + Kennedy weren’t working with the crumbs typically tossed at minority shops. Pritchard declared, “In the United States, if you’re not doing multicultural marketing, you’re not doing marketing.” Additionally, in the United States, if you’re not discounting, disregarding and disrespecting minority advertising agencies, you’re not doing multicultural marketing.

P.S., Is the Dutch Embassy of Creativity run by Zwarte Piet?

14194: Cannes Cons V.

Adweek reported on another divertsity display presented at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity: #WriteHerRight sponsored by the Association of National Advertisers. The new initiative is designed to erase gender stereotypes and ensure authentic depictions of women in advertising. The stunt has the support of major advertisers including AT&T, Coca-Cola, Ford, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg, L’Oréal, PepsiCo, P&G, Verizon and Walmart. In short, #WriteHerRight is another example of lazy and biased prioritizing. That is, racial and ethnic inequality in adland is a much bigger problem than gender inequality. Yet patronizing organizations like the ANA opt to promote White women with quotas, deadlines, omnichannel programs and hearty backing from top clients. For minorities, the ANA uploads homemade videos and assembles an “army” that ultimately showed all the aggressiveness and might of The Salvation Army. The latest effort is reportedly finalizing the development of “a dedicated metric focused on the portrayal of multicultural women in storytelling”—demonstrating again how people of color take a back seat on the White women’s bandwagon. Plus, how will the “dedicated metric” record stereotypical portrayals such as Annie the Chicken Queen, the Pine-Sol Lady, the Honey Bunches of Oats Lady, Aunt Jemima, etc.?

ANA Takes Vow at Cannes to Erase Gender Stereotypes From Ads

#WriteHerRight pledge has support from major brands including P&G, PepsiCo and Walmart

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

CANNES, France—The Association of National Advertisers’ SeeHer movement, which formed in 2016 as an advocate for gender equality in ads, unveiled a new program to ensure storytellers have the means and knowledge to depict women in authentic ways, and major brands including Walmart, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble have pledged their support.

With #WriteHerRight, the ANA’s SeeHer created a platform to fuel discourse on gender inequality in storytelling with showrunners, actors and network executives—putting the issue in front of those who can facilitate change, Stephen Quinn, ANA’s SeeHer chair and former CMO of Walmart and PepsiCo, announced during a Cannes Lions presentation.

The ANA noted in a statement this initiative highlights an expanded partnership between SeeHer, content creators and media partners to drive more accurate portrayals of women in ads across all platforms. The #WriteHerRight platform will also partner with 2018 Adweek Disruptor Alma Har’el’s Free the Bid to help it place more female directors behind the camera and therefore reduce unconscious bias in storytelling, according to Quinn.

“The average age, race and body type of the women depicted in content today represent just a small fraction of the female population,” Dr. Knatokie Ford, SeeHer advisor on STEM & Entertainment Engagement, said in a statement, “That means most women and girls have likely never seen themselves reflected in the media.”

SeeHer’s research shows that unbiased ads increase return on investment by 30 percent, and 90 percent of parents have reported their number one concern with TV shows is the lack of authentic role models they see for their daughters.

As part of the #WriteHerRight outreach, SeeHer produced a “tip sheet” for storytellers featuring statistics on media representation and a list of 10 questions designed to raise awareness and diminish unconscious bias. SeeHer said the sheet was derived from a recent event the group hosted with television writers. It will be distributed to showrunners and SeeHer’s network partners.

SeeHer added that #WriteHerRight will specifically showcase TV writers who have developed strong female characters, void of stereotypes. An interactive #WriteHerRight blog will also be deployed on SeeHer’s website in the coming months to serve as a forum for writers to share their advice on how exactly to write women accurately into stories.

After the unveiling of #WriteHerRight, Quinn told Adweek during a phone conversation from Cannes that he is “excited and surprised” by the support he’s received so far today from producers, writers, showrunners and others in the media industry.

“I didn’t know what kind of reaction we would get,” Quinn said. “We thought some [critics] might be like ‘we don’t need you to tell us how to produce our content’ … which we’re not.”

In an additional statement, Quinn explained, “We are not looking to control creativity or solicit story ideas. We believe that by inviting storytellers to join our movement, we are that much closer to the day when all the images that women and girls see in the media not only mirror the real world but reflect a society they want to live in—and that is good business.”

Quinn said SeeHer measures gendered stereotypes in storytelling by rating content, including ads and TV shows, against its “Gen score” metric. He added that broadcasters, publishers, media agencies and other member organizations have “adjusted their content” based off SeeHer’s findings.

The organization is in the final stages of developing a dedicated metric focused on the portrayal of multicultural women in storytelling, as well, Quinn added.

SeeHer has the support of more than 70 sizable brands including AT&T, P&G, CVS, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, Georgia-Pacific, Ford, General Motors, Verizon, PepsiCo, L’Oréal, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Walmart and Weight Watchers. According to the ANA, this is the first time in which U.S. advertisers have united to address the issue of gender-biased storytelling.

“At Weight Watchers, we aim to inspire healthy habits for real life, which means representing people and life authentically, reflecting diversity of the community we serve,” Gail Tifford, SeeHer co-founder and chief brand officer for Weight Watchers, said in a statement. “We believe content creators and brands are all storytellers and that the tools provided by SeeHer can move us from being aware of biases to actively making changes to be more inclusive.”

In an Adweek contributor piece, P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard explains his rationale for supporting SeeHer and #WriteHerRight in depth. P&G has come out with some of the best examples in recent years of ads that authentically showcase female characters including the “#LoveOverBias” iteration of “Thank You, Mom” from Wieden + Kennedy and “The Talk” from BBDO New York.

SeeHer launched in 2016 in partnership with the Female Quotient with the goal to see a 20-plus percent increase in the accurate portrayal of women and girls in ads by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in the U.S.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

14193: Standout Stereotypes.

This campaign from India seems to rely on stereotypical gender roles while promising your child will become extraordinarily unique.

14192: Cannes Cons IV.

Adweek published a dungy divertsity dissertation from P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard, calling on everyone to become creative change agents by jumping on the White women’s bandwagon. Sorry, but Pritchard is a stereotypical, culturally clueless client. And a political grandstander too, given his manifesto was unveiled during the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. The man knows that the underrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities in adland is a far bigger problem than gender equality. Indeed, P&G requires its advertising agencies annually provide figures regarding diversity and the use of minority vendors—so Pritchard is absolutely aware of the dearth of true diversity in the field. Yet he chooses to conspire with other patronizing clients and White advertising agencies in focusing on the promotion of White women. Pritchard wrote:

Now, some may wonder, why are we still talking about gender equality? We have indeed been talking about it for years, but while it may feel like a lot is happening, the actual progress is frustratingly slow … even glacial.

Um, some may wonder, why has a global advertiser like P&G stopped talking about racial and ethnic equality (besides an occasional contrived commercial or Fill-In-The-Minority History Month print ad utilizing royalty-free stock imagery)? Why does Pritchard openly recommend quotas to boost White women, suggest 100% elimination of gender stereotypes in advertising and rally all professionals to join the cause? Where are such bold demands for people of color? Hell, P&G won’t even commit to increasing the crumbs allocated to minority advertising agencies.

For Pritchard and P&G, My Black is Beautiful—but the actual support for Blacks is downright ugly.

Marc Pritchard: Gender Equality Needs Creative Change Agents to Make Real Progress

P&G chief brand officer calls for action as a force for good and growth

By Marc Pritchard

What if we all became agents of change by using creativity to accelerate gender equality? I want to challenge us to consider this question as we gather this week at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

Now, some may wonder, why are we still talking about gender equality? We have indeed been talking about it for years, but while it may feel like a lot is happening, the actual progress is frustratingly slow … even glacial. For example, the ANA #SeeHer movement recently studied 40,000 ads and media programs and found that 29 percent of women are still inaccurately or negatively portrayed through some form of objectification, stereotyping or diminished character.

That is not surprising when you look behind the camera—only 32 percent of chief marketing officers are women, 33 percent of chief creative officers are women and a mere 10 percent of commercial directors are women. It is quite clear that we do not have gender equality in the creative pipeline.

And progress is slow despite evidence that business results are better when gender equality is reflected in creative work. Gender-equal ads perform 10 percent higher in trust and 26 percent higher in sales growth, according to the same ANA #SeeHer study. McKinsey estimates that closing the economic gender gap could add $28 trillion to the world’s economy—that’s a lot of purchasing power. And we’ve seen it ourselves, as some of P&G’s best performing brands have the most gender-equal campaigns: Always’ “Like a Girl,” SKII’s “Change Destiny,” Olay’s “Live Fearlessly,” as well as Tide, Ariel, Dawn and Swiffer which show men sharing the load in household chores. It’s clear that promoting gender equality is not only a force for good, it’s a force for growth.

Although good examples exist, we all know we’re not where we want to be yet. But I’m optimistic, because it feels like we’re getting close to a tipping point. We’re having different conversations about what’s right, what’s wrong, and what must change. So it’s time to come together to be agents of change, and push beyond the tipping point to achieve gender equality in the world of creativity.

Here’s a path forward.

Aspire to change

Let’s get 100 percent of advertising and media accurately portraying women and girls. To help us get there, let’s aspire to achieve equal representation between women and men behind the camera in the creative pipeline—50/50 among CMOs, CCOs and commercial directors in five years.

Join the movement

Marketers and agencies have to join the moment. Join the ANA #SeeHer movement and the UN Women Unstereotype Alliance which aim to accurately portray women and girls, and eliminate stereotypes in advertising and media content—80 companies have already joined. We all compete on innovation and creativity, but we’re all united behind a common brief to be a force for gender equality.

Build the pipeline

We simply need more women commercial directors. Take the Free The Bid pledge and level the playing field so, over time, women are hired as directors for half of ads and creative content. Alma Har’el’s team has identified several hundred directors in nine countries, with more than 100 agencies and marketers involved. Over the next three years, P&G, HP Inc. and Publicis have invested to double FreeThe Bid’s number of directors and expand to 20 countries.

Fuel the pipeline

We must champion content developed by women. P&G has joined forces with Queen Latifah, HP Inc., Smirnoff, MMC and Ketchum, United Talent Agency, Tribeca Enterprises and Wieden + Kennedy, to fuel the pipeline of women directors with The Queen Collective—greenlighting creative projects and mentoring aspiring women directors. And P&G is partnering with Katie Couric Media, Katie Couric’s new production company that will create smart, innovative and thoughtful content developed and produced by women, focused on empowering women everywhere.

Finally, share the success

Madonna Badger is joining forces with Cannes Lions to curate a “Creative Showcase” at the #SheIsEqual Summit, co-hosted by Global Citizen and P&G during UN General Assembly Week in September. This will highlight and celebrate the best work from women creatives around the world and telling their backstories for inspiration.

What if we all became agents of change? We could move past the tipping point to an equal and better world with equal representation, equal roles, equal pay and equal respect. Society would be better, and business would be stronger. So please step up, be an agent of change and be a force for good—and a force for growth.

Marc Pritchard is the chief brand officer of Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest advertiser.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

14191: Cannes Cons III.

Campaign reported on David Droga opening the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity with navel-gazing that showed his cultural cluelessness exceeds his creativity. Droga shared a personal story about being subjected to cursing by an advertising agency executive while serving as a mailroom attendant. The scenario apparently provided a leadership lesson that Droga summed up as follows: “How you carry yourself and lead is how you treat people who are junior than you.” Heaven forbid Droga might also consider, “How you carry yourself and lead is how you treat people who are different than you.” Additionally, Droga touched on the expulsion of CCO Ted Royer by remarking, “For the first time, our culture has been challenged. I’ve had to look at who we are. I used to say that great work covers the cracks… but it doesn’t cover all of them.” Ironically, Royer likely got himself canned for the way he covered the cracks. But was Droga essentially saying that great work justified overlooking great misdeeds against staffers? It’s hard to believe Droga was unaware of Royer’s bad behavior. According to Campaign, Droga “cautioned creatives to not become too obsessed with their own hype.” Hey, Droga needs to become more obsessed with the factual reality of his agency and its culture versus hiding behind the hype.

David Droga: Great creative work doesn’t ‘cover the cracks’

By Brittaney Kiefer

Droga5 founder David Droga opened the Cannes Lions festival by warning creatives to not become obsessed with their own hype.

David Droga, the founder and chairman of Droga5, is one of the most celebrated creative leaders in advertising. But a few decades ago, he was just a mailroom boy being shouted at by an agency boss.

The executive cursed at the young Droga after finding out he had accepted a job as a junior copywriter at another agency. Droga says that experience taught him a valuable lesson about leadership:

“How you carry yourself and lead is how you treat people who are junior than you,” he said.

Droga, who opened the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity today, was reflecting on his career after a year when the industry has gone through its own reckoning, with issues such as diversity and the #MeToo movement taking the spotlight.

Droga’s agency has not been exempt from that; in the US, creative chief Ted Royer left after an internal investigation, and executive creative director Rick Dodds exited the London office.

“For the first time, our culture has been challenged. I’ve had to look at who we are,” Droga said. “I used to say that great work covers the cracks… but it doesn’t cover all of them.”

Droga’s words were a timely reminder at the world’s biggest advertising awards show. As the trophies get handed out this week, he cautioned creatives to not become too obsessed with their own hype.

“You can enjoy it, but don’t believe the hype,” he said.

Much of Droga’s career has been a story of never resting on his laurels, of taking risks as soon as things got comfortable. He left his first job at FCB after three months to join a start-up, explaining: “Choosing mentors over safety and security was important to me.”

When that shop merged with Omnicom, he gave up his financial stake in the company to take a job in Singapore, where he had never been. His career then took him to London and New York. Years later, he traded his prestigious role as the first-ever worldwide chief creative officer of the Publicis Network to start his own agency.

“As a creative person, you can’t bullshit yourself that you’re happy… no matter the perks,” Droga said. “If you’re not having an impact on the work, it’s not worth it.”

Droga chased his dream and his agency became one of the most successful in the world. The key, he said, was staying true to their ideals: “Every time we’ve tried to be someone we’re not, it hasn’t worked.”

Since his days in the mailroom, the advertising industry has changed enormously. But Droga said that the “purity” of what agencies do—creating ideas—has not.

As Droga arrived in Cannes this weekend, he said he was reminded by a large, ugly billboard of why people hate advertising: “It serves no purpose, it’s selfish and interrupting.”

Advertising isn’t going away, but the “shitty” kind is, he said. His final words were a rallying cry to a festival that, despite so much upheaval, still claims to cherish creativity.

“The best advertising is visceral,” he said. “Our job is to move people and do extraordinary things.”

14190: Mansplaining Moron.

Adweek published divertsity directives from Women in Digital Founder and Executive Director Alaina Shearer, who listed six ways men can help fuel the White women’s bandwagon. Shearer sought to educate men on the concept of “mansplain”—which she seems to believe is a common phenomenon in adland. Sorry, but Shearer’s perspective is ignorant and insulting. Perhaps her career path has driven through one lousy shop after another, where the men were misogynistic, condescending assholes. If so, that’s unfortunate. It’s patently pathetic, however, for Shearer to brand most of the males in the field as cavemen who: 1) presume women are clueless; 2) provide unnecessary direction; 3) take credit for women’s ideas; 4) exclude women in meetings; 5) fail to acknowledge women’s contributions and; 6) sit silently when gender discrimination happens. Yes, there are admen displaying one or all six of the characteristics. But to proclaim, “Sadly, there are very few men who aren’t offenders,” is sadly stupid. The truth is, the type of men described by Shearer are waaaaay outnumbered by the culturally-clueless White men and White women dominating the industry—a group in which Shearer is likely a card-carrying member. Of course, she probably doesn’t even realize it.

6 Ways Men Can Support Their Female Colleagues

Being mindful of the women in the room will create a balanced environment

By Alaina Shearer

From ad agency execs to movie moguls and members of the media, men across all industries are under a spotlight for their behavior toward women in the workplace. While some giants fall, most men—like the good guys—are wondering what they can do to help stop the systemic gender bias that’s plagued the advertising industry since its inception.

If you are one of these good guys, read on. I’m hoping to shed some light on the agency mansplain and how to correct your behavior or the behavior of men on your team. Having worked at agencies for most of my career and then starting my own while also leading a national movement for women in digital fields, I have heard and seen it all.

Some good news: The fact that you’re even wondering if you or your team is inadvertently, or perhaps deliberately, preventing women from reaching their true potential is a positive sign. Your awareness alone is a significant first step in the right direction.

To most women, the word “mansplain” is a catch-all for the ‘splain, but also the interrupting, presumptions, sexism, mistreatment and behavior that flat out offends many women at most agencies.

Sadly, there are very few men who aren’t offenders. Most of you can’t help it because you were raised to be more confident, to not shy away from any challenge, and you were most likely—along with the rest of us—programmed with stereotypes about women’s intelligence and place in the workplace.

Sometimes the very best of men may not know when they are mansplaining, interrupting or treating women with bias, but what’s the difference between the good and the bad? The good guys change their behavior without resentment or a poor attitude. The bad just don’t give a damn. So, what can the good guys do to make sure they’re not inadvertently offending or dominating over women in their office? Here are six ideas.

Don’t presume she is clueless

This is perhaps the most common. But men fighting their own gender bias are naturally apt to presume we women don’t know what we’re talking about when we likely do. Men, you must not presume we don’t know what you’re about to teach, show or explain to us.

Ask first. Then explain

Before you dive into a ‘splain of some kind, ask if we are already familiar with whatever it is you’re about to discuss. For example, if you’re about to tell a project manager how she should manage a client budget, first ask, “Are you good with this budget?” or, “Can I give you some background?” Compare that to this version: “This budget is confusing. Let me show you how to manage it.” In a real-life version of this exact mansplain, that woman’s manager would spend minutes explaining how to manage a client budget when the woman had 20 years of project and budget management experience. You have assumptions about women, and those assumptions affect how you may be communicating with us. Just be aware, and you’re halfway there.

Never take credit for her idea

This is a big one. And so common. Guys, listen—I’m not blaming you for any of this. I am an optimist, and I always see the good in everyone. I am willing to bet you don’t even realize you’re doing it, but you steal our ideas all of the time. Sometimes right in front of everyone else in the room. Again, you may not even consciously be doing it, so just be aware. If a woman comes up with an idea in a meeting, credit her and build upon her idea with your own.

Err on the side of inclusion in meetings

A very easy way to lift women up (in spirit and financially) is to invite them to key meetings. In most cases, women are less likely than men to edge their way into a key internal or client meeting. Get her in there. This is the opposite of mansplaining and a fantastic way for you to earn some major respect from the women on your team. When in doubt, invite her to the meeting. And when she’s there, let her fly.

Brag her work

The first four on my list ask you to modify your existing behavior. But ideally you can add something to your repertoire by bragging her work. Go out of your way to make sure the upper management suite (the C-level you as a man statistically have more access to) know about a female colleague’s contributions to the project or the company as a whole.

Call out the other guys

Once you have become the master of mastering not mansplaining, keep your eyes out for offending male counterparts. When you catch a mansplainer, call him out. Confront him privately (or publicly, depending on the circumstance—no one wants a fight to break out at the agency). Also, don’t contribute to or participate in sexist behavior or comments at work. I know this is perhaps easier said than done, but it would be a huge step toward creating a more equal and fair work environment.

Easy enough, right, guys? And what can the women do? A lot.

As Joanne Lipman points out in the newly released book on corporate gender bias, That’s What She Said, “Women need to change their behavior, to act like men in order to be heard.” For example, she recommends women learn how to interrupt back.

And if we don’t, then how will our mansplaining agency friends ever improve? They will—and they must. But it may take them longer, so call those guys out, ladies. Give them a fighting chance to change, and we’ll all be better off.

Alaina Shearer is the founder and executive director of Women in Digital. She also founded Cement Marketing, a digital agency based in Columbus, Ohio.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

14189: Cannes Cons II.

Quartz reported on a Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity event featuring Goodby Silverstein & Partners Co-Founder Jeff Goodby interviewing former Adweek Editorial Director Michael Wolff on his latest book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Who thought this discussion would be of relevance and importance to advertising enthusiasts? Sure, Wolff likely turned it into a pseudo-case study on PR, sales and social media. Yet the spectacle really showcased old-fashioned hucksterism, given Wolff’s first visit to Cannes in 2011 left him looking disinterested and out of place. Seven years later—and seven years removed from the advertising industry—Wolff is suddenly a celebrity at the industry’s premier awards gala. On the other hand, Goodby has already publicly displayed his disdain for President Donald Trump, so his participation in hyping Wolff’s book isn’t surprising. Although it is disturbing to see Goodby continue to share his political perspectives in a professional setting. Maybe Carl Warner was right after all in his contention that Madison Avenue presents a hostile work environment for allegedly underrepresented conservatives.

Monday, June 18, 2018

14188: Cannes Cons.

Adweek reported Ogilvy staged a PR stunt at Cannes, declaring the company would hire 20 women into creative leadership roles by 2020. Plus, the White advertising agency will allow Kat Gordon and The 3% Movement to monitor the progress, undoubtedly also leading to tax-deductible donations to the White women’s group—as well as more PR opportunities for all patronizing parties. The self-promotional act is similar to Omnicom President-CEO-Pioneer of Diversity John Wren vowing to double the number of female creative leaders at BBDO in 2016. It’s funny how no one bats an eyelash when quotas are introduced to boost White women. Yet applying numerical goals to increasing the representation of colored people is met with outrage and resistance. Ogilvy and Gordon added faux inclusiveness to the scheme by claiming the Ogilvy empire is “going to be developing a pipeline for senior women of color globally and making key hires in the next 24 months.” Again, there are no specific details or figures attached to the planetary plot for non-White women. Expect the agency to promote an administrative assistant in Bangladesh and declare, “Mission Accomplished!” Ogilvy Worldwide CCO Tham Khai Meng gushed, “We are big believers in metrics. And the big reason we have to put our heart and our head and our gut to this and commit to this publicly is [that] we want this to be measured.” Okay, but the man is ignoring the metrics of a 2017 Cannes study that showed these exclusive maneuvers—which are falsely heralded as fostering diversity—do not benefit women of color. In the end, culturally-clueless con artists like Khai and Gordon will collect multiple Glass Lions before true diversity is addressed in adland.

Ogilvy Commits to Hiring 20 Women Into High-Level Creative Roles by End of 2020

Announced at Cannes, the goal will be monitored by 3% Movement

By David Griner

CANNES, France—Saying that there’s often much talk but little accountable action on gender balance in the creative industry, Ogilvy’s global creative chief announced today the agency network will hire 20 women into its highest-level creative roles by the end of 2020.

At the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Tham Khai Meng, Ogilvy’s worldwide CCO, said in addition to the commitment to hire women into 20 “senior creative roles,” the network is “going to be developing a pipeline for senior women of color globally and making key hires in the next 24 months.”

While Ogilvy did not release a specific set of titles that it will consider senior creative roles, the agency did send this statement to Adweek: “We define senior as executive/senior-level managers. This category is reserved for the highest level within the organization. This level includes individuals who plan, direct, formula policies and set the strategy.”

Khai said the agency is already in discussions with three women for these high-level roles, but he did not identify any by name.

Helping monitor the agency’s progress toward the goal will be the 3% Movement, one of the industry’s most high-profile groups advocating for gender balance in agencies—especially in creative roles. The organization’s name stems from the time of its founding, when only 3 percent of creative directors were women.

“We are big believers in metrics,” Khai said. “And the big reason we have to put our heart and our head and our gut to this and commit to this publicly is [that] we want this to be measured. That’s why we’re partnering with Kat (Gordon) and the 3% Movement.”

“We’ll keep you honest,” said Gordon, who joined Khai and other Ogilvy leaders for the announcement at a discussion on diversity at Cannes.

Gordon said she was especially glad to see the agency’s commitment to creating a better pipeline for minority women to advance in the network and in the industry at large.

“Diversity is not a headcount issue,” she said. “If you hire a bunch of women or leaders of color and they don’t feel they belong and are prized, they’re going to leave. And I don’t want to see that happen at Ogilvy or anywhere.”

Ogilvy New York creative director Della Mathew, who attended the announcement, said she was proud of the agency’s commitment, which she sees as a starting point.

“I think it’s amazing,” Mathew said. “You have to start somewhere. If 20 is the number we’re going to start with, then we start with 20. Making the move to make the commitment is what is impactful and meaningful.”