Thoughts 02.08.16

Fold7’s leading ladies weigh in on the gender debate

Over 50% of Fold7’s leadership team are women. Diversity is integral to our agency’s DNA and is something that defines us as a 21st century agency. So when Kevin Roberts’ controversial gender bias comments surfaced, our leading ladies were quick to jump in on the debate.

Our Strategy Partner Yelena Gaufman argues that Roberts’ comments were discourteous, and it was natural for adland to react how it did, but action is what’s now needed.

Here’s what I find disheartening about the Kevin Roberts frenzy. We’ve come out in droves to bash someone for saying some very ignorant comments. But he’s just the lightning rod. A lightning rod makes the debate easy to engage with and just as easy to forget about. For the record, I too found the comments insulting but I’m not that interested in jumping on the bashing bandwagon. I am interested in whether the industry has the power to channel all that outrage into something more useful. It’s good to react but it’s even better to act.

I get it, the controversy created a bit of soap opera style drama. Who doesn’t like that on a Monday morning? The story was easy to engage with. The battle lines were clear – he was wrong and we were right for calling him out on it. It’s not hard to point out all the things that were wrong and outdated about his comments. Criticism is easy. Putting real actions in place is much, much harder. Read the full article on The Drum here.

Christine Beardsell, Managing Partner of Content here at Fold7 strongly believes that it’s a critical time for women to be placed in top roles due to the changing nature of the industry and how we need to engage audiences. Only the best and smartest agencies are realising it’s a new game out there.

I’m lucky to have joined a very progressive agency where half of the leadership team are women. It’s one of the things that appealed to me, alongside the diverse range of work. However, I have been in the industry long enough to know there is quite a bit of work to be done when it comes to gender diversity in advertising. The reality is that there are still very few female creative directors compared to men. It’s simply not true that most women are happy to be where they are, as Kevin Roberts suggests.

My belief is that not only do there need to be more women in top roles across agency land, but that it is more critical than ever due to the changing nature of what advertising is and how it reaches audiences. We no longer have the luxury as advertisers to sit in a room and decide what message we want to feed a captured TV audience. People are consuming media differently today and we need to be more clever than ever on how we reach them. Read the full article on Campaign here.