Cannes-Do Festival Banner

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

By Steven Raeburn | N/A

June 28, 2013 | 3 min read

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”.

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

“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 latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.

Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.

Sign up

“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.”


More from Media

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +