Are we there yet? FCB associate art director says 'support is only getting us so far'

Every week, we ask industry insiders across all job levels and titles to share personal stories about equality, diversity and inclusion in adland. We know we're not there yet, but we want to document the highs and lows as the industry slowly transforms for the better.

Victoria Rosselli
Associate art director
FCB Chicago

Tell us about one thing that’s happened recently that leads you to believe there’s still a problem?

It starts in March: Women’s History Month. Our Instagram feeds are suddenly filled with female-empowered quotes written in a pastel handwriting font. Agencies are handing out stickers. Quotes are cute, but cute doesn’t create change. If you’re using an Instagram quote to check off your charity box, you’re doing it all wrong.

On the way to work in Amsterdam, you see different-shaped fake breasts floating along the river, part of an ad campaign by 72andSunny highlighting the beauty of breasts just being breasts in all different colors, shapes and sizes.

Sure, these women-inspired stunts show support, just like slapping a Pride flag onto your brand’s packaging shows your support for LGBTQ rights. Support is only getting us so far.

How about something that proves we’re making progress?

In 2019, we’re seeing more females rise up to C-suite positions, allowing young female creatives to see their way to the top. Agencies around the world are integrating pro-women initiatives into their culture. Is your workplace trying to make progress if they don’t at least have free tampons in the women’s bathroom?

We’re starting to see brands move past the gender-based stereotypes, not only in their ads but in the people driving the work. Beer, for instance, is notorious for using male-only creatives. FCB Chicago turned this stigma around by using female talent, as well as a female director, DP, account lead, creative lead, creative team and producer, for the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Super Bowl spot.

Every decision was ultimately made by a woman. It’s 2019, and we’re seeing a beer campaign fully fleshed out from a female lens. As a young creative in the industry for less than two years, it’s inspiring to work for an agency that celebrates women.

We saw R/GA celebrate Barbie’s 60th birthday by creating a campaign called "The Last Generation of Firsts," which highlights women who have "shattered the plastic ceiling." This social and experiential campaign not only continues to inspire them to be anything, but to break the mold of firsts.

What else needs to be done to get there?

In advertising, we’re given a very small piece of responsibility to make a dent in our society. This boils down to who we give this responsibility to. Although women are rising to the C-suite, there are still agencies where women can’t see their way to the top.

Let’s bring men into the conversation. We don’t want to show up to a 3% Conference and see a room full of women and five men in the audience who were forced to show face for their company. Instagram posts aren’t enough. We need men supporting women. Men creating work that inhibits the male gaze. Recruiters hiring diverse talent. And, my fellow young creatives, we have a voice, so let’s be louder than ever.

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