Cannes is a chance to
network, get drunk, and attend the odd talk from ad folk. They usually claim big things. Perhaps this is the year for drones. For saving the Dodo. Or that their agency is doing something better than yours.
So I read with great surprise this morning that Campaign mag wrote about this initiative from Ogilvy.
“Tham Khai Meng, Ogilvy’s worldwide co-chairman and chief creative officer, has pledged to hire 20 senior creative women globally by the end of 2020 and has promised a new pipeline of senior women of colour across the next two years.”
“Nice one!” Presumably came the cry from his audience in Cannes. People were pleased on Twitter too. Only a couple of people were questioning that statement. And now I want to be another.
On the face of it, all sounds good. Ogilvy want to promote at least twenty women to senior positions. But this isn’t coming from a little agency for Timbuktu. It’s the behemoth of WPP. They have 132 offices in 83 countries and a workforce of 25,000 in the US alone – and they really want 30 months to hire 20 high-ranking female creatives?
Heck, they could do that in a week. Ogilvy have nine territories on their website; Africa, Asia Pacific, Australia and Oceania, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America and the United States. You’re telling me they’re not already hiring 20 women in high ranking positions?!
Now I’m hoping when Tham Khai Meng says ‘senior women’ he’s talking about really senior positions like ECDs and CCOs etc, not CDs. Because, frankly, if they think only hiring 20 senior creative females across their entire network will make a difference, the whole industry is in serious trouble.