Women of Cannes Lions 2014

by Jul 3, 2014

Women Of Cannes

This year, more so than ever, there seems to have been a real drive for women in the industry with the topic trending at the Cannes Lions festival. NJ explores.

There’s no hiding it, there’s a serious lack of women in the industry, with less than 5% at creative leadership level. Bearing this in mind, it seems the women of Cannes (the awards, not the town, although that would have been lovely) have been working hard to spread the word, talking about the need for women in the industry, setting up events and even dedicating a lounge solely to us lady folk.

Even the Cannes Lions website states: “Clearly, the industry needs to not only encourage new female talent, but encourage existing female creatives to reach the top and lead the effective campaigns marketers are looking for.”

See it be was a program set up with the aim to further women in the creative industry, encouraging them to grow their careers and reach senior positions. During the Cannes Lions festival, 12 women took part in the program. They had one to one interviews, took part in meet and greets with VIP speakers, attended dedicated sessions by industry leaders and reps from the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, and joined a mentorship event supported by SheSays. For more information you can visit the See it be on the Cannes website here.

Speaking of SheSays, they played a big part in promoting women at this year’s festival with talks, events and sponsorships throughout the week.

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On the topic of ladies in the industry SheSays say there’s three opportunities that are being missed:

>> Opportunity 01: Women are the purchasers

A quote from the festival website – “More than 80% of purchasing decisions are made by women. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that marketers are increasingly seeking female creatives to work on their campaigns. And yet the figures in the industry don’t reflect this demand: only 15% of Cannes Lions delegates under the age of 28 are female and in creative jobs. That drops down to just 4% of delegates over the age of 28. Ths closely coincides with the well-known figure of just 3% female creative directors worldwide.”

>> Opportunity 02: Our clients are asking ‘where are the women?’

With only 3% of CDs being female in agencies today, we’re killing this epic opportunity to be a hero for our clients. Brands are becoming more aware and active about getting women into the senior roles in their businesses, it is these women who are fast becoming the industry’s clients.

>> Opportunity 03: We’re not making enough progress

The industry appears to be paying lip service to the equality and diversity issues and is still focused on a ‘fairness’ perspective when what is actually needed is a bigger industry-wide culture shift. The industry has been set up and created by men for men so we need to start innovating and creating new working environments and cultures in our agencies to ensure it is less about ‘leaning in’ and more about recognising and appreciating different values and ways of working.

“I would love to have more female creative directors and that’s not just personal preference but also based on common sense: the majority of people shopping and who we try to influence with advertising are women…” Rosie Arnold, BBH London

The Girl’s lounge, set up by Shelly Zalis, is out to change how women network. This years Cannes brought us the Ipsos Girls’ Lounge: offering an intimate networking opportunity for female conference attendees, grooming services and even group outings – like an evening trip to SoulCycle. “I wanted to create a way for women to connect, it’s a place for women to feel comfortable” Zalis explained.

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Nicola Mendelsohn, VP EMEA at Facebook followed the event closely, blogging for Campaign@Cannes about women in advertising. In a recent post she explained that “women have come a long way and we can do more – but more so than ever, women should be empowered to flourish in the way I know they can.” She leads on to explain how it is vital for women to have role models, mentors and colleagues to learn from and that’s why this year it was great to see that over 30% of jurors were women (a 10% increase from last year). “People come first. I want to make sure we are always listening and keeping the conversation open to make sure everybody can reach their full potential.”

Words by – NJ

[Imagery courtesy of SheSays & The Girls Lounge]

About Natalie Jahangiry

Natalie is half Persian with a Geordie accent. Although small in stature, she makes up for it with a big personality! As a Graphic Designer you will often find Natalie gushing about her passion for all things creative and sharing her ideas with everyone and anyone who will listen. If she’s not decorating her house you will find her cooking up recipes from her foodie family or propped up in a cocktail bar in town.

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