On March 12th 2018, the Advertising Association, NABS and WACL are launching a new initiative – timeTo – to address the problem of sexual harassment in the advertising and marketing industry. timeTo 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 – and that, by taking action together, the industry will be better placed to make positive change to stamp out sexual harassment.
Other industry bodies and companies will be invited to join timeTo; ISBA and the IPA have already pledged their vital support.
The ambition for timeTo is that, from this day forward, everyone will work in every way they can towards the complete eradication of sexual harassment from our industry. timeTo is a forward- looking, positive initiative, working to change the future, but NABS will be there to support any individual who needs advice and help about any historical or current harassment.
The first timeTo action is to conduct an industry-wide study, led by Karen Fraser at advertising’s think tank, Credos. The study aims to establish the current level of sexual harassment across the industry and to provide data for future tracking of change. Participating organisations will invite people to respond through email links, thus ensuring that the sample represents people currently working in the industry. It is designed for the broadest participation, not just from people who have been victims of sexual harassment or witnessed it, crucial though their involvement is. The study aims to gain some general insight into the industry’s views on and experiences of this issue. It goes live today.
Within its first six months, and after due consideration of the findings of the study, timeTo will produce a best-practice Code of Behaviour for all companies to implement as a minimum. While some companies are reportedly well advanced in tacking sexual harassment, many others have yet to address the problem explicitly in their company policies and processes.
Stephen Woodford, CEO, Advertising Association, said: “Our industry, like many others in the UK and around the world, is going through a critical reset in terms of behaviour change. The Advertising Association exists to promote the role, rights and responsibilities of advertising and timeTo is about being clear about the behaviour standard expected of all people who work in advertising. This must happen to ensure our industry, which reflects and shapes the world around us, continues to be an economic and social force for good in the years ahead.”
Diana Tickell, CEO of NABS said, “This is an important partnership as we all believe no one should have to experience sexual harassment, anytime or anywhere. If you or someone you know needs someone to talk to, contact NABS who can offer confidential advice and support on 0800 707 6607 or firstname.lastname@example.org”
Kerry Glazer, President of WACL and CEO of the AAR, said, ““This initiative is not about naming and shaming; it’s about making sure that everyone in the industry is aware that any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that makes a person – male or female – feel uncomfortable, offended, intimidated, or degraded is entirely unacceptable. No excuses.”
Longer term, culture change will be addressed through training programmes – for both joiners and existing advertising and marketing personnel – and other forms of communication.