While some would argue there has been significant progress in the advertising industry in the fight for diversity (check out B&T’s upcoming Changing The Ratio conference here), DDB Sydney ECD Tara Ford believes there’s still more work to be done in Australia’s creative departments.
Speaking on Colenso New Zealand’s ‘Love This’ podcast, Ford said that creative departments are lagging in comparison to the agency as a whole when it comes to senior female talent.
She said: “The rest of the agency does seem fairly balanced certainly in my recent experience, but creative departments seem to be the last place we are making this happen.”
“There seems to be quite a few juniors or middleweight when you need the really senior women. It’s very difficult. There are fewer and fewer.”
Ford is one of the handfuls of female ECDs in Australia, joining DDB Sydney in 2018 from TBWA Melbourne. Prior to that, she worked in London and Amsterdam for a number of years at Wieden + Kennedy, TBWA and M&C Saatchi, where she said creative teams were more diverse than Australia.
Ford added: “We’ve got to a point now where society is demanding it. We have to pay attention. It’s not good enough.
“We need more diversity at the very top of the agencies. That’s when you can really make things happen and you are absolutely accountable. That’s a real necessity. We still don’t have diversity right at the top.”
Ford questioned why more Australian agencies weren’t building more diverse creative teams when she’s found it often leads to more successful work.
“Diversity is really something that can improve the work and improve the effectiveness of the work if done right,” Ford said.
“Different perspectives are something that will make us stand out and our brand stand out and really connect with groups in society that perhaps haven’t been related to in the way they would have liked to, or inspired, understood or represented.”