At my first junior job at a London agency – the senior team managing us would frequently tell us we were going to be ‘raped’ by the CDs whenever we went in for big reviews.
I was a senior director at one of Publicis agencies which at the time just had a new female MD. She made us posed for PR pictures for some magazines etc, saying we are an organisation that empowers women and had a lot of women in high positions. But when one of the client partners screams and shouts at me in the open plan office, and calls me names, she sits at her desk, right in front of me as this is happening, and does nothing.
I’m the head of a dept in a big WPP creative agency. Post lockdown we had a client my CEO was desperate for me to meet. Upon making arrangements the client insisted on meeting at a hotel lobby or his house. I told my CEO I will be declining because I’m not comfortable. He asks me why and asks if the client has been inappropriate? And then continues to tell me that for some reason I’m “imagining things”.
We work for a branding/packing agency in London (and elsewhere/global) and while we’re in full countrywide lockdown with hundreds, if not thousands, of people dying a day, our CEO is adamant that it’s not that serious and employees are being guilted into coming into the agency for face to face meetings because the managers have decided it’s not efficient for lower paid members of staff to work from home.
We’re being guilted into working in the agency and made to feel like we’re causing a fuss when we insist that it’s unsafe (there are no real covid prevention measures in place and staff have already had covid badly but the rest of the agency are not informed)
When we’re in the office we’ve now been told to turn our cameras off when video calling clients as so many clients have made comments about us working from the office but the boss insists we’re “essential workers” to get around the government lockdown… a lot of the staff are starting to show the signs of severe mental stress as a result of the complete lack of management and care from the higher ups at the company. People have started to quit as a result.
Working on a personal project to help make adland culture safer for women. Do you have examples of when you knew something was inappropriate but let it slide or laughed it off because it’s “just part of the industry culture” and now regret it?
If you’ve written a post about toxic culture in agencies, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have more to contribute? Drop us an email at email@example.com