WACL, Snap, YouTube and Pinterest call for better representation of women in advertising

WACL, Snap, YouTube and Pinterest call for better representation of women in advertising Duncan is an award-winning technology industry analyst, specialising in cloud computing, blockchain, martech and edge computing.


Women in Advertising, Communications and Leadership (WACL), in collaboration with influencer marketing agency Billion Dollar Boy, has launched a creative campaign as part of its ongoing Represent Me initiative.

The purpose of the campaign is to amplify WACL’s purpose, which is to accelerate gender equality in our industry. 

There is an increasing body of evidence from multiple sources, including IPSOS’s A Woman’s WorthSystem 1’s Feeling Seen and the Geena Davis Institute, that shows that women still do not feel accurately represented in advertising. Even though, as the findings of the Unstereotype Alliance State of the Industry report shows, there is a persistent need to recognise the intersectionality of women and take action to support all forms of diversity, including race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and age, women still do not feel, and statistically aren’t, represented in advertising. It’s time we, as an industry, changed this. 

This new creative campaign is a vital and powerful collaboration between WACL, Billion Dollar Boy, Snapchat, YouTube and Pinterest, and four prominent female voices in the creator industry. These women were intentionally invited to lend their voices to the campaign because they are part of the growing industry of storytellers and creators who truly represent the breadth and depth of modern women. They speak authentically with their community, curating and leading valuable conversations about how all women want to be represented in both advertising and society. 

Through Represent Me, WACL is urging the advertising industry to take immediate action when it comes to the representation of all kinds of women in advertising, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Because, despite women still wanting better representation in their work, data around gender equality in society as a whole shows that progress is far from inevitable.

This latest creative campaign builds on that of last year, when WACL released its first public piece of work designed to highlight the importance of positive gender representation in advertising on young girls and their future possibilities. It also builds on the ongoing work being done by WACL’s partners, the Unstereotype Alliance, ISBA and the Advertising Association.

This year’s campaign calls on everyone, both within the industry and outside of it, to be part of this conversation, to champion a more positive and authentic representation of all kinds of women and bring about a new era of change. 

Because, as WACL asserts, it is critical that representation is viewed as a progressive and enduring project, one that needs to flex and adapt to changing behaviours, ambitions and beliefs.

The four female creators represent a few of the many diverse and powerful communities of women that WACL wants to see better represented in advertising. Each is lending their voice to this campaign to champion a variety of causes. Trina Nicole is a body confidence influencer and founder of the UK’s first plus size dance class; Ellen Jones is a writer, speaker and activist for Neurodiversity and LGBQT+; Jamelia Donaldson is the founder and CEO of TreasureTress and a woman transforming the natural hair care landscape; and Lucy Edwards is a broadcaster, journalist, author and Disability Activist making a remarkable difference to her community and to brand behaviour.

All four creators were asked by Selma Nicholls and Chloe Davies from the WACL Represent Me committee, ‘What does representation in advertising mean to you?’ They were then invited to  sit down together for an in-person conversation to unpack and explore the topic. This conversation has been pulled into a longer-form piece of film, plus short clips, all of which are available to watch here. 

A team led by Jessica Lenehan at EssenceMediacomX, an agency built to create breakthroughs for brands in the new communications economy, supported WACL by planning and activating paid advertising credits generously supplied by Pinterest, Snapchat and YouTube to help WACL reach marketing and advertising professionals with this important message.

Represent Me is a movement, not a moment, designed to celebrate the recent progress that has been made in the advertising industry while also asking everyone in the industry to hold themselves to account and do better. The initiative is also designed to look ahead to the next 100 years of WACL and the wider future of the advertising industry.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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