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Time’s Up takes on sexual harassment in ad land with Time’s Up, Advertising

A campaign group of 180 women in senior leadership positions in advertising have joined with the Time’s Up movement to launch Time’s Up, Advertising. In an open letter launching the initiative today (12 March) the group says it aims to become “a global force for business reform” across the industry and says it is the first industry body to formally align with Time’s Up, the women’s equality movement.

“Hey, Sisters, we know,” the letter opens, penned by the group that includes top level senior executives from DDB, Wieden & Kennedy, BBDO and R/GA. “At the end of January, a small group of us came together to talk about what was going on in the industry and in our offices and what we could do about it. That long night turned into more meetups and phone calls, and hundreds of emails. Many hundreds of emails. Along the way we have grown from 14 women to 180.

“As women in senior leadership positions in advertising, we’ve agreed that we have the power to change this business we love until it looks more like the industry we want to lead,” the letter continues. "As leaders, it’s on us to foster a workplace where people are challenged but still respected.

“Sexual harassment is not OK. Never. No exceptions. No amount of talent, missed cues, or being great in the room unchecks the No Sexual Harassment box.

“Old power dynamics are a lot of the problem. Power that blurs the lines between what you get to do/have/touch/ask for/expect and what you don’t. It’s time to talk candidly about the responsibility that comes with power.”

Part of its list of actions includes community gatherings on 14 May in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, as well as an online forum for reach beyond major cities. The letter also invites further women to join the group and donate to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund helping those who have experienced sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace.