Bec Brideson: “Adland Is Guilty Of Woke-Washing”

Bec Brideson: “Adland Is Guilty Of Woke-Washing”
SHARE
THIS



Slow out of the starting gates, the advertising industry hasn’t seen “nearly enough” in the way of addressing the marginalisation of women, Bec Brideson says.

During this year’s B&T Women in Media Awards, presented by Bauer Media, we’ll be recognising exceptional people who have achieved success in their professional arenas, celebrating their invaluable contribution to their industry through leadership, innovation and courage.

Well-respected across the creative industries as a champion of change, Bec Brideson recently spoke to B&T about where advertising is going wrong and why it is guilty of “woke-washing”—an expression the Venus Comms chief executive explained is the modern equivalent of “pink washing”.

“It’s like this way of thinking that just because you say something very superficial that it’s actually going to make a change,” Brideson tells B&T.

“In Cannes last year there was a lot of talking about ‘woke-washing’, because the big topics on the agenda were around gender and culture and race equality—but no one is actually making the changes or measuring the data.”

Brideson points to the recent example of the Interpublic Group, which revealed the sorry state of equal opportunity in the United States, as a gold-standard for how to be open and address problems of inequity.

These inequities have, however, been extraordinarily nefarious. A year on from the viral kick-start of the #MeToo movement, in 2018 The Agency Circle released staggering figures that showed as many as 42 per cent of women in Australian advertising had experienced sexual harassment—while 20 per cent had on more than one occasion.

In research released in 2019, The Agency Circle reported “positive results” in relation to sexual harassment, with 85 per cent of women saying they had never encountered such behaviour—15 per cent, however, still had.

Brideson says there have been discussions among leaders in ad-land on addressing the problem, but nothing concrete has occurred to address inequities among the sexes.

“They didn’t say: ‘let’s look at women’s progress in their careers over the last couple of decades’; ‘let’s look at where the female leaders are’; ‘let’s look at the pay inequalities’; ‘let’s look at the treatment of people who have been discriminated against and let’s actually change that’.”

Emphasising such a stagnation on action, Brideson says, was the industry’s behaviour around the Australian Human Rights Commission’s National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces.

“Agencies were asked to waive their non-disclosure agreements and they didn’t,” she tells B&T.

“On the one hand they’re saying, ‘we really care about the treatment of our women’—but they wouldn’t waive that opportunity, so that women who’ve been affected and had non-disclosure agreements put against them could make statements to the national inquiry.”

The way through the spin and the PR-esque “woke-washing”, according to Brideson—who received the 2019 Women in Media Awards award for ‘Champion of Change’—could involve industry-wide initiatives like agency accreditation.

Among these is the Australian federal government’s WGEA ‘Employer of Choice for Gender Equality’ citation, which strategically aligns with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

That, however, would require self-auditing, which agencies may drag their feet on—especially if they were found to be complicit in covering up behaviours detrimental to other people, Brideson says.

“If agencies won’t do this sort of self-assessment and won’t do it themselves, then clients who are a little bit more answerable—because they may have shareholders that they’re answerable too, or they want to be seen as a brand that is doing right by all of its potential consumers and constituents—could drive that,” she says.

“So, given that clients hold the purse strings, I would think that would be a great place to start … clients should demand more—but that’s a big cultural issue as well, because you may have some brands and some clients who are not particularly ‘woke’ themselves.”

Undoubtedly, this would require the kind of courage and dignity from the industry that Bec Brideson has shown her entire career for industry-wide change to occur—qualities that the B&T Women in Media Awards will continue to celebrate.

Don’t be shy, be proud of your achievements and enter B&T’s Women In Media! Submit your entry here.

You can also buy tickets to the event here, which will be held on Wednesday 28 October 2020, at Doltone House (Jones Bay Wharf).

And, if you’d like more information, head to this website.

Other key information 

On-time deadline: Friday 21 August 2020 (5pm AEST)

Late entries deadline: Friday 28 August 2020 (5pm AEST)

Shortlist announced: Wednesday 23 September 2020.

Thank you to all of our incredible sponsors for making the event possible! 

Please login with linkedin to comment

B&T women in media awards bec brideson Venus Comms women in media awards

Latest News

Stock close up image showing a “subscribe” button on a website with hand shaped cursor
  • Media

Facebook Journalism Program Helps News Publishers Find New Subscriebrs

New data from Facebook shows that an initiative aimed at supporting local news publishers is showing early signs of success. Australian and New Zealand publishers participating in the Facebook Journalism Project’s Reader Revenue Accelerator in 2019 and through 2020 secured more than 24,000 new paying subscribers and more than 160,000 new loyal readers (whether through […]

Kate Langbroek Returns To Melbourne’s Chapel Street For ‘Support Local’ Campaign
  • Campaigns

Kate Langbroek Returns To Melbourne’s Chapel Street For ‘Support Local’ Campaign

Radio personality and comedian Kate Langbroek has returned from Italy to rediscover Melbourne’s iconic Chapel Street Precinct, which has seen a post-lockdown renaissance of business over summer. Langbroek has stitched the words ‘Support Local’ on her sleeve, making visits to many Chapel Street Precinct businesses with a film crew capturing each of the business owners […]

Koala Conquers COVID Hurdle For New Commercial With 12K Video Shots
  • Campaigns
  • Technology

Koala Conquers COVID Hurdle For New Commercial With 12K Video Shots

Paying homage to the Vincent Desiderio painting ‘Sleep’ and Kanye West’s ‘Famous’ music video, Koala Furniture’s new commercial shows a range of people all comfortably sleeping on their Koala Mattresses. Like the ‘Famous’ music video, the commercial for Koala’s new mattress begins with a close up of a single sleeping person and then slowly pulls […]

NAPLES,ITALY- DECEMBER 11, 2013:Rubber Soul is an album by the Beatles del1965, when they were at the peak of popularity. It is the first Beatles album to not contain the name of the group on the cover.
  • Media

The ‘500 Greatest Songs Of All Time’ To Play On Nine Radio In Feb

On Monday, 1 February, Nine Radio will start the countdown for the 500 greatest songs of all time on Magic 1278, 4BH 882, 2UE 954 and 6GT DAB+. Hosted by Stevie Jacobs, the week-long celebration will be a feast of non-stop appointment listening for music lovers right across the country. With listeners invited to vote […]

The US Capitol Building at dusk.
  • Technology

Tinder, Bumble Banning US Capitol Rioters

Dating apps have banned the US Capitol rioters. However, that's not to say there's not plenty of loons & psychos left.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
PEDESTRIAN.TV Moves Self-Care Festival Online For 2021
  • Media

PEDESTRIAN.TV Moves Self-Care Festival Online For 2021

Pedestrian Group has announced it will be taking the third iteration of its national self-care festival Selfish online in 2021. Selfish Sessions, running virtually from February 24 – 26, will reflect on what self-worth means to young Aussies, focusing on long-term strategies to improve their intellectual, emotional and creative wellbeing off the back of a […]

A-League Clubs Partner With Epic Games In New Fortnite Campaign
  • Media

A-League Clubs Partner With Epic Games In New Fortnite Campaign

This week, three A-League clubs will partner with Epic Games to celebrate global football in Fortnite, alongside more than 20 other top clubs from around the world. Starting on Sunday, players can choose from 10 different variants of new “Kickoff Set” outfits to represent their favorite club in-game. Each outfit can be swapped to any […]

Sunnyvale, California, USA - April 4, 2018: Headquarters for Google Cloud computing, located at 1155 Borregas Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94089.
  • Technology

Google Cloud Partners With Optus For Customer Support Transformation

Google Cloud today announced a three-year strategic partnership with Optus to enhance the telco’s customer support transformation through its Contact Center AI (CCAI) solution. Optus will be the first telecommunications provider in the ANZ region to use this technology from Google Cloud, and the partnership has already resulted in a reduction in customer resolution times. […]

Hipages Launches New Digital Tradie Campaign
  • Campaigns

Hipages Launches New Digital Tradie Campaign

hipages has launched a new digital-led campaign, which builds on the “Change The Way You Tradie” brand platform, directly targeting Australian tradies to demonstrate the platform’s value in supplying businesses and sole-traders alike with qualified job leads. The new humorous creative features six real tradies who have experienced success with hipages, spanning categories including building, plumbing, […]