Women in Media’s Marina Vasilieva: “To stay relevant, I’d encourage creatives to stay fearless”

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B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

To stay relevant in advertising, creatives must remain fearless in their work, according to Host/Havas Australia’s creative art director, Marina Vasilieva.

During this year’s B&T Women in Media Awards, presented by Are 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.

A winner of this year’s 30 Under 30 Awards in the ‘Creative’ category, Marina Vasilieva recently took the time to chat with B&T on what this year’s theme, fearlessness, means to her.

She also revealed what she considers advertising’s three biggest challenges to be, and how she would solve them.

Marina, what does ‘fearlessness’ mean to you?


What does fearlessness in advertising, marketing, or the media look like?

Being responsible for work that makes a statement, has an impact on culture, and leaves its mark on the world.

Who do you know who has shown these qualities since the COVID-19 pandemic struck?

When COVID struck, many of us feared we wouldn’t be able to make anything good for goodness knows how long. But even in the face of a pandemic, some agencies have still managed to come out on top with some bold, fearless, and truly impactful work.

My absolute favourite was #Wombstories by AMV BBDO. From showing periods (that look like actual period blood) to IVF, endometriosis, joy, and great loss; it did a brilliant job of acknowledging and celebrating our bodies in a brilliant way all while giving a big middle finger to taboos that have been surrounding women’s bodies since what feels like the beginning of time. Not to mention, the craft was absolutely off the charts.

Work like #Wombstories has the ability to take what were once hushed, quiet conversations—conversations many women were often too ashamed to have in the open, or conversations we were told we weren’t allowed to have—and transform them into bold, proud statements, setting up future generations to have open, healthy discussions around women’s bodies and health.

Now that’s fearlessness.

What is an issue in the industry that keeps you up at night?

I try not to let anything in the advertising industry keep me up at night.

Do you believe the advertising, marketing and media industry has been ‘fearless’ in 2020?

No, but not by our own accord. Due to COVID, we haven’t been able to be as fearless as wanted, but we’ve been as fearless as needed.

While fearlessness hasn’t come to everyone in the form of groundbreaking, culture-shifting work, it’s been embodied by most of us through still showing up, having difficult discussions and making difficult decisions, and doing what needs to be done to keep the lights on.

How can professionals in advertising, marketing – and the media more broadly – be fearless in times of change?

By leaning into fear instead of running away from it.

Going through times of change can be confrontational, daunting, and downright terrifying in many ways given change isn’t always in your control—and that’s okay. As I mentioned above, I think it’s important to acknowledge your fears and worries during times of change and let them guide you. Take some time with yourself, analyse your fears and get to the bottom of them, and get a better grasp of why you’re feeling the way you are.

When you acknowledge and overcome the uncertainty of change, that is when you can truly be fearless.

What are ad-land’s three biggest strengths? What are ad-land’s three biggest challenges?

Our biggest strengths are our people, influence, and ability to solve real world problems in creative ways.

Our biggest challenges that we need to overcome are the lack of diversity, low talent retention rates, and remaining relevant.

How would you solve these challenges?

There’s no one size fits all approach and I appreciate that it’s always easier said than done, but here’s how I’d look at each one.

When it comes to diversity, hire more diverse talent. In an industry of storytellers, it’s important we hire talent who have a variety of lived experiences that can contribute to our industry as authentically as possible.

Focus on fair pay and reducing burnout in order to retain talent. Young people are very quickly realising that they no longer need to work in advertising to express themselves both meaningfully and creatively. The glitz and glamour of the advertising industry is long gone, and due to the terrible hours and pay, so has the hunger to work in it.

To stay relevant, I’d encourage creatives to stay fearless. As a leader, I would actively work on creating an environment where people are welcome to ask questions, have difficult discussions, and be vulnerable and open amongst one another.

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

You can also get tickets to the event here, which will be held virtually on Wednesday 28 October 2020.

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

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! 

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Marina Vasilieva women in media awards

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