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Don’t be a bystander to sexual harassment at Christmas

A new timeTo campaign highlights the urgency of tackling sexual harassment in advertising, particularly during the festive season.

Nicola Kemp

Managing Editor, BITE

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TimeTo, the campaign to eradicate sexual harassment in advertising, is urging people in the industry to not be bystanders to harassment in a hard-hitting Christmas campaign.

The latest iteration of the ‘Where do you draw the line?’ campaign launches today. The new short film, created by Lucky Generals and directed by Steve Reeves at Another Film Co, underlines the long-term commitment made by timeTo to tackle sexual harassment in the advertising and marketing industry. Print and outdoor executions focusing on real life situations of harassment at Christmas underline the issue.

Leaders of timeTo endorsing companies have also been sent mistletoe alongside a reminder of their responsibilities. For while the Christmas party season can be a source of much-needed joy and team bonding, it is also a key risk period for sexual harassment.

Helen Calcraft, Founding Partner of Lucky Generals, the advertising agency which created the campaign, explained, “Sexual harassment is a real and present problem in our industry and the Christmas office party is sadly a high-risk environment for many. It is totally unacceptable for anyone to leave their company party feeling upset, compromised or diminished. So, this latest iteration of the ‘Where do you draw the line’ campaign is designed to impact behaviour in real time. This year we are focussing on an all-important aspect of sexual harassment; the role of bystander. On so many occasions, sleazy and bullying behaviour is witnessed by others who feel disempowered and even afraid to intervene. We want to encourage people who observe bad behaviour or an abuse of power, to find someone in their company that they trust and make them aware of the situation.”

We want to encourage people who observe bad behaviour or an abuse of power, to find someone in their company that they trust and make them aware of the situation.

Helen Calcraft

Earlier this year research from Credos revealed that despite the advent of the #MeTop movement, 70% of sexual harassment goes unreported while one in ten respondents from timeTo endorsing companies had experienced sexual harassment during the past twelve months.

Kerry Glazer, Chair of timeTo, added, “We continue our work to eradicate sexual harassment from our industry. This new campaign brilliantly brings into sharp focus the important role of the bystander to report incidents if they witness something happening. This vital shift in behaviour will be of benefit to all as we make sure the workplaces and social gatherings across UK advertising are safe for all.”

TimeTo is a collaboration between the Advertising Association, NABS and WACL, and is backed by ISBA and the IPA. The organisation is focusing on taking action to end sexual harassment in the marketing and advertising industries. Endorsing companies have access to new toolkits and materials for leadership teams, staff and HR departments.

TimeTo’s research underlines the fact that sexual harassment is not a historic issue but one impacting people in the industry today particularly through the systematic and widespread use of non-disclosure agreements.

Earlier this year at Bloomfest hosted at Channel 4, the personal stories of sexual harassment from women in the industry were shared anonymously in the ‘Booth of Truth’. From inappropriate comments to the continued belief that reporting harassment would be the death-knell of their careers, the personal stories underlined how vital the timeTo campaign remains.

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Christmas Diversity