In June 2015, TBWA, a global advertising network, launched an initiative “to achieve a more balanced representation of women in leadership roles across offices, across departments and across the network.” To further its commitment to supporting gender equity in the ad industry, just yesterday, on International Women’s Day 2016, TBWA launched a video created “to underscore the fact that the issues faced by women cannot and should not be challenged or changed by women alone.” To do that, the group had males staffers, who included several legendary ad execs, deliver actual comments from their female peers about “the double standards of life in the agency world.”
This is a simple video (and corresponding campaign) that powerfully illustrates how pervasive this issue is in this particular field. But we’d argue that you could swap the ad industry for any number of others and be able to produce a strikingly similar video, sadly. And while we applaud the important statement that TBWA is making to counter workplace gender inequity, it does come with a hefty dose of irony for us as this is the very same industry that continues to produce ads that are sexist, objectify women, push the manufactured beauty ideal, etc.
So clearly change has to come from both the insides of these ad offices and what they pump out of them creatively.