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Female ad execs join forces with Hollywood to launch Time’s Up Advertising coalition

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By Bennett Bennett | Staff writer

March 13, 2018 | 7 min read

A group of 180 female advertising industry executives signed a petition to launch Time's Up Advertising, an extension of the Hollywood-born movement to combat sexual misconduct.

The announcement was made Monday (March 12) and marked the first industry vertical of the movement to be established. In a letter to the public, the statement said that this is part of a broader effort from Time’s Up to establish “a global force for business reform across industry categories.”

Time's Up Advertising

Time's Up has expanded to Madison Avenue with the launch of a chapter in the industry vertical

The mission of Time’s Up Advertising, as stated by those who signed is: "to drive new policies, practices, decisions, and tangible actions that result in more balanced, diverse, and accountable leadership; address workplace discrimination, harassment, and abuse; and create equitable cultures within our agencies.”

“Bring your voices,” they added, “We need you.”

The reaction to the announcement was met with positive response from members of the advertising community, as well as female directors and actors in the entertainment industry.

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Aside from the number of agencies that added their names, the IAB's Anna Bager, as well as 4As chief executive Marla Kaplowitz, and senior vice president of talent engagement and inclusion Keesha Jean-Baptiste also pledged support for the expansion of the initiative to Madison Avenue.

Stories of male executives exiting agencies in the wake of sexual harassment allegations and investigations emerged over the past few months and some of the agencies named, including Droga5, Publicis, The Martin Agency, and Wieden + Kennedy, all had executives lend their names to the cause.

Anonymous whistleblowing group​ Diet Madison Avenue has been at the forefront of many of the conversations of bad behavior in the industry and has been influential in many of the recent allegations of industry bad behavior.

On DMA's newly-launched website, the group applauded the launch and voiced support for the movement, but noted, “The list of 180 women admittedly included representation from agencies who’ve behaved complicity and done more to protect abusers and their own reputations in the past, but another powerful thing about change is that it’s never too late to better yourself, your actions, your agency, and your industry.”

DMA added that it still believes the industry needs the involvement of an independent third party, saying, “We hope groups like 4A’s can usher in such an entity.” The industry trade organization had recently launched an "Enlightened Workplace Certification" course, that it looks to launch next month for its member agencies and individual industry professionals.

Ultimately, DMA continued, it believed “change is not a spectator sport, and the fact that Time's Up Advertising has been created must be applauded and supported. Time's Up Advertising likely wouldn’t have worked 5 years ago. Even 1 year ago. But right now, in this very moment, we all find ourselves in, it truly might. And think of the possibilities. Addressing sexual harassment might lead the way for us to begin the addressing of racial discrimination and other issues that lead to toxic work environments in our industry.”

Time's Up Advertising will convene with ad professionals in community gatherings located in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. The group has plans to create an online forum as well for reach beyond major cities, and a roadmap that will include a commitment to “creating solutions that work, starting with examining the processes and policies that have failed us." The movement will also identify and mentor those in underrepresented parts of the community, groom them for leadership, and adopt “progressive agency training and education.”

“Our goal is real change," Time's Up said. “We think the best first step in this process is talking face to face with you.” Like their sisters in the broader coalition, the group stated a commitment to holding their workplaces accountable, and looked to push for "swift change.”

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