The Ad Industry Has the Tools to Fight Rising Misogyny. So Let’s Step Up

From tackling online bias and demanding better from AI engines to taking responsibility for our internal cultures and platforms, agencies, brands and media owners can play a meaningful role, writes LBB’s Laura Swinton.

International Women’s Day is usually a time for the advertising and marketing world to share celebratory campaigns designed to empower women and girls, as well as platform the female talent that drives the business. But it’s also a time to pause and reflect to think about how far we’ve really come, as a business and as a society.

Our internal Equals Network adds value to our womxn workforce; celebrating, educating, and inspiring everyone on gender positivity and inclusion, not just on International Women’s Day but beyond.

CO-Chairs Lois Kettlewell and Natalie Brierley, share their thoughts with LBBonline – Little Black Book on how brands and agencies can support the gendered experience.

At M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment London, we are on a mission to Step Up, and make passions more inclusive. This goes for the work we produce, but also the culture and equity we are building internally.

Be Real About Your Impact and Practice What You Preach

Online misogyny reflects the learned behaviours and lived experiences offline, but social media certainly amplifies these toxic messages and, notwithstanding the anonymity of profiles on platforms – trolls seem much louder online. So, brands that are connecting to their audiences through marketing communications or advertising must consider the impact on vulnerable groups.

Across all industries, brands and agencies have a social responsibility to share positive messaging. In recent years, we’ve seen more and more brands turn to conscious and inclusive marketing, in support of vulnerable groups and playing a role to inspire camaraderie and support: EE Hope United is a campaign that combats online hate against female footballers. M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment launched the Absolut Choir to raise the voice of changemakers championing topics like trans rights and body positivity. Yet, purpose-driven work isn’t a ‘nice to have’. It actually drives brand favourability. M&C Saatchi’s Art of Conversation report found that consumers are now 40% more likely to buy from brand that speaks about issues that matter to them.

And we practice what we preach to brands too. At M&C Saatchi, we have dedicated Employee-Led Networks – communities of people that support and champion better representation and equality internally and for the future. The Equals Network for example, strives to support the gendered experience in the workplace through creating a safe space to share ideas and inspire meaningful change.

This International Women’s Day marks a whole month of inspirational talks and workshops with experts employees can learn from. After all, what’s the point in pushing brands to do better, if we don’t hold ourselves to the same standard?

Natalie Brierley and Lois Kettlewell are co-chairs of The Equals Network at the creative agency M&C Saatchi, which means they have an added role of champion better representation and encouraging more equity in the company. It also places them well to talk about the impact that the communications agencies do with their brand clients can have on vulnerable groups.

This article was originally published on LBB Online. To view the original article, click here.

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