The feisty, fiery and ever-insightful Cindy Gallop delivered the keynote speech at the Mumbrella360 Conference in Sydney Tuesday and as she always does, she minced no words when it came to the topic of advertising's white boy bro culture.
She told the audience that if they endeavor to embrace diversity, they will set themselves up to make "a god damn shit ton of money," but added, "if you start any business today with an all-white male leadership team you will never own the future."
As you may know, Gallop has a long history in advertising having founded the U.S. office of Bartle Bogle Hegarty. After that, she went on to found IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn, two entities that touch on today's treatment of women and the perception versus reality of sex. She;s been a strong advocate of women in the workplace having spoken on the topic at many industry events including the 3 Percent Conference.
Making the point that diversity is an important element of the creative process, Gallop said, “Working with women and people of color is uncomfortable because we are ‘other’. But out of that will come extraordinary insights and perspectives. The new creativity is female informed, it allows the fact that new forms of creative product produces new insights.”
Driving the point home further, she went on to add, “If women do not see the industry showcasing people like them, we do not feel welcome, we do not feel valued and wonder whether it’s even worth trying. We have to change the numbers fast. Tokenism is useless, because the alien organism has to adapt to the culture around it."
And on the notion of safety in numbers as it relates to a minority group's voice within an organization, Gallop said, “Two women is not enough. The optimum number of women on a board, leadership team, etc, is three or more. When you have three women and people of color they feel more able to say how they feel because they feel like they are being supported. If you work as quickly as possible to get to a gender equal environment, you instantly manage out negative dynamics. You instantly manage out sexual harassment.”
Gallop also thinks the actual work product of ad agencies would vastly improve if the creative approach was fueled by a more diverse group of people. In fact, she believes that men are actually done a disservice by the fact that much of advertising is run by men, saying, “I’m tired of seeing young male morons in beer ads, and men portrayed as hapless fathers. That’s what happens when our industry defaults to stereotypes. Men: you’re not being done justice by advertising.”
It's not clear whether or not Neil French was hiding in the back waiting to pounce but maybe he's keeping his pro-bro trap shut after having a bit of a Facebook blowout with Gallop over an incident Gallop experienced at Cannes when she said a man became abusive towards her.
If some in the audience might not have clearly understood what Gallop was advocating, she broke it down into terms everyone -- maybe even Neil -- can understand saying, “Women make shit happen, women get shit done. Want to do less work and make more money? That’s the answer. There’s a huge amount of money to be made out of taking women seriously.”