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New campaign launched to tackle sexual harassment in UK ad industry

Over 100 advertising companies have now signed up to timeTo

A new advertising campaign from timeTo aims to put the spotlight on sexual harassment in the advertising industry by asking, “Where Do You Draw The Line?

The multi-platform advertising campaign, with creative developed by Lucky Generals, will appear across a range of media including print, out of home, social media, a range of advertising and marketing websites, cinema and via ECRM over the coming weeks and months.

Powerful examples, featuring increasingly uncomfortable situations based on real life experiences of people working in the UK advertising and marketing industries, have been designed to encourage people to think about where the line exists between normal conversation and interaction, and something potentially more sinister.

The campaign has received unprecedented support from across the media industry. Leaders from publishers and event organisers including Advertising Week Europe, Campaign, Digiday, The Drum, Little Black Book, Marketing Week and Mediatel Newsline have come together to support timeTo.

Further commitments of support to profile the campaign have been received from ITV and Sky Media through their B2B sales sites and Pearl & Dean through their cinema industry screenings.

Where Do You Draw The Line? is based on timeTo’s research earlier this year into sexual harassment levels in the UK advertising and marketing industries. Many of the campaign scenarios are drawn from real-life experiences. Three 60 second online adverts, directed by Steve Reeves at Another Film Co, will run online while out-of-home campaign ads will run in highly targeted industry-adjacent locations.

timeTo, a collaboration between the Advertising Association, NABS and WACL, and backed by ISBA and the IPA, is aiming to address the problem of sexual harassment in the UK advertising and marketing industry.

Kerry Glazer, WACL, President, NABS and CEO, AAR, said, “I hope this new campaign will enable people to reflect on where the line is drawn on sexual harassment. Our campaign is about making sure that everyone in the industry is aware that any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that makes a person feel uncomfortable, offended, intimidated, or degraded is not acceptable. It’s timeTo end sexual harassment in our industry once and for all.”

Stephen Woodford, CEO, Advertising Association, said: “The ‘Where Do You Draw The Line?” campaign is powerful, thought-provoking work by Lucky Generals to help end sexual harassment in the advertising industry. The UK is a world leader in advertising and it is therefore right that we should also be at the forefront of efforts to make our industry a secure and safe industry for all our people. This is vital in ensuring our sector, which reflects and shapes the world around us, continues to be an economic and social force for good.”

Diana Tickell, CEO of NABS, said, “No one should have to put up with sexual harassment, anytime, anywhere. NABS is always here to offer confidential, unbiased advice and support to those in our industry affected by sexual harassment, to help make our industry a better place to work for everyone.”

Helen Calcraft, Founding Partner, Lucky Generals, said: “Our survey confirmed that sexual harassment is a real and present danger in our industry. But it is not always a simple/binary issue of good and bad people. It can be nuanced, even unintended sometimes; but it is often an abuse of power. So, our work is deliberately designed to be thought-provoking as opposed to judgmental. It asks the audience to consider and question where the line would be for them. We all have a responsibility to question our own behaviour and we have to work together to change the climate in our industry; now is the timeTo draw the line.”

The advertising campaign is the next stage of a programme that has already gained the industry-wide support of over 100 businesses and organisations. The initiative is determined to unite the entire UK industry in a bid to stamp out sexual harassment by establishing acceptable standards of behaviour and offering guidance to colleagues.

The campaign builds on the global #MeToo and #TimesUp movements but with a recognition that all parts of the advertising industry are affected – all sexualities and genders, agencies, marketers and media-owners. It hopes to prove that, by taking action together, the industry will be better placed to make positive change to end sexual harassment.

Action so far has included an industry-wide study, led by Karen Fraser MBE at advertising think tank, Credos, which established the current level of sexual harassment across the industry via the responses of over 3,500 industry professionals. This survey also provided data for the future tracking of change.

Future activity will include an annual survey of sexual harassment within the industry to measure the impact and success of timeTo on an ongoing basis.

Finally, timeTo would like to thank the following for all their kind support (including providing their time for free) to make the advertising campaign possible:

Steve Reeves (Director), Tim Marshall (Producer), Sam George (Production Manager)… and everyone at Another Film Company.

Sam Robson (sound engineer), Jeff Smith (sound engineer), Deborah Whitfield (producer)… and everyone at 750MPH

Scot Crane (editor)… and everyone at The Quarry

Matt Turner (colourist), Dan Bennett (producer)… and everyone at Absolute Post.

The cast of the films: Janine Hipkins, Rob Pomfret, Tevye Matheson, Sarita Plowman, Rebecca Todd, James Wren, Arthur Cull, Linda McDade… and all their respective agents.

Jessica Fisher, Jessica Vo, Simon Toaldo, Vinicius Artioli, Fehed Said, Deana Heywood… and everyone at EG+.

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