The timeTo guide to celebrating safely at Cannes

Lori Meakin gives leaders advice on how to eradicate sexual harassment and create a culture of safety from the top down, sharing tips from timeTo’s new guide

Lori Meakin

Founder and Author The Others & Me and 'No More Menemies'


As the Cannes Festival approaches, I hope that marketing and advertising leaders join us in working to eradicate sexual harassment wherever it happens and help create a culture of safety and respect from the top.

A safe and respectful environment is the least all of us deserve. It also allows creativity to flourish and ensures that everyone can contribute to their fullest potential. But it’s a sad fact that sexual harassment remains an issue in Adland. It’s often misunderstood, as it takes many forms, from inappropriate comments to unwanted physical contact, right through to coercive behaviour. But whatever form it takes, it’s always unwanted by the recipient, is a violation of their freedom to feel safe, and is a significant barrier to a positive and productive work environment.

It’s a sad fact that sexual harassment remains an issue in Adland.

Lori Meakin, timeTo Steerco, WACL Exec, and Founder of The Others & Me

Senior leaders and managers in the advertising and marketing industry can play a hugely important role by establishing cultures where respect flourishes and sexual harassment is never acceptable. And, of course, the duty of care doesn’t just apply to the office - leaders need to ensure all staff are safe and looked after when working outside of the office too.

To equip everyone with the knowledge and tools necessary to ensure a safe, respectful and enjoyable environment, free from sexual harassment, Cannes Lions has partnered with timeTo, NABS and Wildstorm PR to create an invaluable guide, ‘Celebrating safety in Cannes’. By setting the tone and leading by example, leaders in the industry can use the guide to help create an atmosphere where creativity thrives and every team member feels valued and protected.

The guide covers the measures that everyone can take to support timeTo and Cannes' mission, so we can all help keep each other safe at this year's Cannes festival, and beyond. Below are some of the key points, which we hope all leaders in the industry will share with their teams.

Before Cannes

Establish clear policies: make sure that your company’s sexual harassment policies are up-to-date and clearly communicated to all employees. These policies should outline what constitutes harassment, the procedures for reporting incidents, and the support available to those affected.

Training and education: invest in comprehensive training for your teams, such as the timeTo training, on sexual harassment, especially for those attending industry events. Use resources such as the timeTo code of conduct to educate staff on how to recognise and prevent harassment.

Create a safe reporting environment: foster an open and supportive atmosphere where employees feel comfortable reporting incidents without fear of retaliation. Make sure reporting mechanisms are accessible and that employees know how to use them.

During Cannes

Lead by example: the behaviour of managers and leaders sets the standard for teams. Demonstrate respect and professionalism in all interactions. These actions will signal to employees that harassment is not tolerated.

Stay accessible: be approachable and available to the team during the festival. Regularly check in with employees to ensure they feel safe and supported. Encourage them to speak up about any concerns.

Promote inclusivity: celebrate the diversity of the festival and respect all attendees, regardless of gender, background or identity. Ensure that all team members feel included and valued.

Monitor and intervene: be vigilant about the behaviour of those around you. If you witness inappropriate conduct, address it promptly and appropriately. The intervention of someone senior - or in fact anyone - can prevent a situation from escalating and demonstrates a commitment to a safe environment.

After Cannes

Debrief and reflect: conduct a thorough debrief with the team to discuss their experiences and gather feedback. Use this information to identify areas for improvement and to reinforce your commitment to preventing harassment.

Provide ongoing support: follow up with any individuals affected by harassment to ensure they receive the necessary support and resources. Reinforce your commitment to their mental wellness and to maintaining a harassment-free workplace.

Review and update policies: based on feedback and experiences, review and update your company’s policies and training to ensure they remain effective and relevant. Continually improve and adapt your approach.

Promote a culture of accountability: hold everyone in your organisation accountable for their actions. Ensure that incidents of harassment are addressed promptly and appropriately, with clear consequences for those who violate your policies.

Cannes is a prestigious event that celebrates the best of the creative industry. It is the responsibility of all leaders to help ensure that this celebration can occur in as safe, respectful, and inclusive an environment as possible. So let’s lead by example: implement the strategies outlined in the Celebrating Safety at Cannes guide; demonstrate a commitment to ending sexual harassment, wherever it happens; and make a positive impact on adland’s culture.

Download Celebrating Safely at Cannes at https://timeto.org.uk/cannes/


After many years of working with women and others who are marginalised because of their gender or sexual orientation, Lori increasingly found herself wondering why more men aren’t getting involved in creating the change that’s proven to benefit all of us. So she set about working to answer that question, using the research, understanding and behaviour-change expertise she’s developed over decades in branding, advertising and the media. The Others & Me is founded on this deep and objective, evidence-led understanding of the real issues around gender, as well as the insights and methodology Lori refined by talking to all kinds of men from undergrads to grandads about how it feels to be a man in a world where people are increasingly talking about gender equality.