28 June 2013 - 2:18am | posted by | 5 comments

Havas CEO says PR is "too feminised and PC" and needs Australia's "big balls''

Australia a "small country full of big ideas". And balls.Australia a "small country full of big ideas". And balls.

The CEO of Havas PR North America, Marian Salzman, has said that the PR industry has become too feminised, and must discover some of the “balls” of Australian PR which she says helped the nation achieve such success at the Cannes Lions.

In a lengthy reflection on the Cannes Lions events, she said that the PR industry has “went middle-aged”.

“It was interesting to me that Australia seemed to dominate across the board this year,” she said.

“The communications agencies Down Under exemplify the anti-command-and-control sensibility that also serves as our ethos. That’s what seems to make greatness.

“The further you get from a command-central model, the less supervision and micro-management you end up with. It can be scary to loosen the reins, but the antipodean wins are proof that genius happens when creativity can run wild.

“There’s a lesson here. There’s a lot more all of us around the world can learn from this small country full of big ideas and big executions like the ones we saw from every Australian agency this year.

“Perhaps there’s a correlation between small countries and big balls when it comes to creating and selling bold ideas that shake up the status quo.”

Salzman says that her own agency, Havas - which itself won 9 awards at Cannes this year, is not “as stunningly ballsy” as what she witnessed from Australian agencies this year.

“My use of the word “ballsy” is intentional: The best Australian work exudes a great masculine energy, something we’re sadly missing over here,” she said.

“The American PR industry has become so feminised and so politically correct that I worry about where the edge has gone. It’s not even in Brooklyn or Long Island City anymore. We’ve institutionalized all the hot shops, softened their edges and finishing-schooled the brashness right out of them.”


28 Jun 2013 - 12:32
emmetatquiddity's picture

Just a pointless statement. Whatever point she's making will just get lost because of the inflammatory language and divert the conversation.

What does "feminised" mean to Salzman?

Because if it's supposed to represent the opposite of "edgy", "anti-command-and-control" and "creative", coupled with the inference rich "middle-aged" as a pejorative, then she represents exactly the conservative mentality in advertising that she should be trying to shake up. It's a dinosaur mentality.

Winning lots of awards certainly tells you that you have the respect and admiration of your peers, but it doesn't tell you anything about the quality of their judgment.

28 Jun 2013 - 14:30
arunh17581's picture

Amazing journalism. Perhaps you should credit the article where these comments came from?


28 Jun 2013 - 15:05
stephen_lepitak's picture

@arunh17581 You'll find that I have just corrected that now.

28 Jun 2013 - 21:40
arunh17581's picture

@stephen_lepitak Many thanks Stephen. A link in the editorial would be nice too :)

28 Jun 2013 - 18:15
joann91377's picture

Since when did "feminised" come to mean centrally-controlled, unimaginative & lacking in edge & energy?

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