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Publicis Groupe India senior management celebrate equal pay with crossdressing photoshoot

The senior management at Publicis Communications and Publicis Media in India crossdressed for a photoshoot to commemorate being certified as ‘equal pay’ organisations by KPMG. The photos were widely distributed across the agencies’ various social media channels including Twitter and Facebook.

The genesis of the shoot can be traced back to restructuring at Publicis Groupe. The employee evaluation system was overhauled, apparently making it less dependent on biases and extraneous factors and shifting to a more standardised and quantitative KPI-based model.

One of the expected consequences of this new system was shrinking the gender pay gap and so Publicis Groupe commissioned KPMG to do an audit. At the end of the process, it was found that Publicis Communications and Publicis Media were equal pay operations.

The idea for the photoshoot came up while the organisation was looking for ways to celebrate this development. At the suggestion of a team from Leo Burnett, the group decided to build the shoot around the concept: “Whether you are Raj or Rajeshwari [popular male and female names in India], for us you are the same.”

The images of the senior management were not photoshopped but actually shot in a session that involved makeup, eyelashes and clothing.

Speaking to Mumbrella about having achieved equal pay, Publicis Communications India CEO Saurabh Varma said: “Everyone knows this is the right thing to do. In fact, it should have been done five years ago. As an industry, we should celebrate some of the areas where we can be progressive and lead.

“We keep talking about strategy for our clients, but we need a strategy for ourselves as an industry. We have the power of ideas and so should apply them to ourselves.”

Among those in the shoot were Saurabh Varma; Publicis Media India CEO Anupriya Acharya; Leo Burnett India managing director and chief creative officer, Rajdeepak Das and Arc Worldwide executive director Vandana Verma.

Saurabh Varma

Anupriya Acharya

Rajdeepak Das

Vandana Verma

The shoot also included senior personnel across agencies like Publicis India, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis Emil, digital agency Digitas, PR firm MSL and in-house production unit Prodigious.

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