Adland still crossing the line on sexual harassment

The British advertising industry has begun to make progress on challenging sexual harassment within agencies, the Advertising Week Europe conference was told this week.

The #timeTo campaign, backed by key industry bodies, was launched last year with the aim of ending sexual harassment within the British advertising and marketing industry.

It was triggered by the release of a wide ranging survey which demonstrated the continuing prevalence of harassment in adland, particularly in out-of-office situations where alcohol is available.

The survey of 3,580 people revealed:

  • 34% of female respondents said they had been sexually harassed while working in the industry;
  • 9% of men said they had been harassed;
  • 72% of those who said they’d been harassed said it had happened more than once;
  • 30% said they had witnessed harassment happening to others
  • 82% of perpetrators were said to be in a role senior to the person being harassed

Within agencies, harassment was most likely to happen at a creative agency, followed by media agency, then media owner.

The conference was also shown a series of ads, aimed at triggering debate within the British ad industry at what point the line is crossed.

One ad features a young woman at an agency celebrating winning a pitch.

Another features a marketer pressuring an account manager to join him in his hotel room.

And a third features a male member of staff being encouraged to have “fun” with an older female client.

The conference was also told that 180 agencies and other organisations have signed up for a code of conduct. The code defines what constitutes harassment, and the processes organisations agree to put in place to deal with it.

The ads were created by the agency Lucky Generals.



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