This year, the stories told within advertising and marketing are slowly beginning to diversify. As consumers’ voices grow louder, brands cannot afford to ignore them, and this means that the breadth of stories being told is greater than ever, although still not great enough. As Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G revealed, “40% of women say they don’t feel represented in ads.” For years, their stories haven’t been told but now they’re speaking up.
Kerry Washington, an actor, director and founder of production company Simpson Street spoke on a panel about women and the direct-to-consumer economy. When it comes to storytelling, Washington believes in the power of empathy: “put yourself in someone else’s shoes to tell a story.” She added that empathy allows creators to recognise stories that may otherwise not have been told: “[we are] putting stories that have traditionally been on the peripheries at the centre of the content.”
Peripheral stories formed the backbone of COPA90’s talk around women’s football which saw Nuria Tarre, the CMO of City Football Group, reveal that now is a “great opportunity to look at the game through different eyes.” Where once the game revolved around the male players, now with this year’s Women’s World Cup, the conversation has shifted, and brands are open to telling different stories.
As Rebecca Smith, Global Executive Director of the Women’s Game at COPA90 said, “The stories have always existed but there was no place for them to be seen.” Smith cited the growth of digital platforms as a key factor in providing “a home” for these stories. But with 95 million photos and video uploaded on Instagram every day, it could be that people need help ensuring their creativity is seen. And making them stand out from the deluge.
This is something Free the Work is looking to provide. The next iteration from the team behind Free the Bid, Free the Work has set out to put a spotlight on under-represented talent by creating a digital platform where creatives can host their work. There is power in creating a space in which people feel heard, in which they feel like their stories can be told. As Amanda de Cadenet, Founder and CEO of Girlgaze, passionately said, “All perspectives are important.”