News & Opinion

#timeTo: The industry comes together to tackle sexual harassment

The new advertising campaign ‘Where Do You Draw The Line’ released by Lucky Generals and industry partners launches at Cannes Lions this week and calls on the industry to tackle sexual harassment. The campaign’s leaders take a look at the impact the campaign can have on the industry.

Research found that 20% of 18-24 year olds in the industry have experienced some form of sexual harassment. With over 80% of people not reporting it, the much-needed campaign provides people with clear guidance of what sexual harassment is and how to take action.

The industry-wide campaign has been a huge success and now 225 advertising businesses have signed up to the code of conduct. Speaking at a panel at the Clear Channel garden were the companies behind the initiative, which included Lucky Generals CEO Katie Lee, RAPP copywriter Oliver Easthope and head of communications for IPG Mediabrands EMEA Alice Archer.

Discussions on the campaign centred mainly about the immediate need for an industry-wide initiative like this. Lee commented that the problem with sexual harassment is that it is a grey area and that research shows that not many people understand what it actually is. In response to this insight, the campaign gets people talking and the multi-platform nature of the campaign has provided visibility throughout people’s Cannes Lions’ experiences – from ad space at Heathrow Airport; to the handing out of sun cream along the Croisette; and through the very surreal and impactful campaign video.

On getting companies onboard, RAPP’s Easthope and IPG Mediabrands’ Archer talked about how they brought their teams together to discuss whether to sign up, what the code of conduct would mean to their businesses and provided an opportunity to look at the balance of power that exists across the industry – Easthope clearly pointed out that this is an industry wide problem and not just an agency problem.

The results of the campaign have been immediate. Archer referenced a recent sexual harassment case that came to light only one day after the company had committed to the campaign. The CEO took immediate action, which demonstrated to not only employees but also the industry that this is more than just an endorsement and that #timeTo is making a difference to people’s lives.

Concluding the conversations, Archers commented that as an industry “we have a role in society” to communicate messages. And this campaign is an example of how the advertising industry is using its platform to communicate for good.

The campaign is a result of pro-bono support from Lucky Generals, in addition to support from industry media and event organisers.

Watch out for updates from Cannes Lions 2019 on the Cannes Lions hub and on Twitter.

Ad Association 20/06/19

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