Thursday, August 4, 2016

Kevin Roberts, Saatchi Advertising, vs Cindy Gallop & Janette Miller

New Zealander Kevin Roberts, chairman of the prestigious New York advertising agency has been forced to retire after making extremely 'offensive' comments about the lack of women executives ambition.

This did not really surprise me because ever since I arrived in Auckland, New Zealand in 1975 I had met with this attitude from the local advertising agents. At the time I was doing pioneering work in opera and ballet trying to drag the traditionalist opera and ballet companies into the late 20 century by using film and transparencies in my productions. By the early 1980s I was video taping these and the results  showed, even though I had virtually no equipment because owing to trade restrictions I was unable to import the cameras and projectors I needed, that it would have been obvious to all I was extremely talented. Even the Royal Ballet Covent Garden knew I was something special in the area and allowed me to use their artists.

I was also a brilliant marketer and won the New Zealand TV Marketing Award in 1982 for my exceptional marketing of children's ballet and serious opera and ballet productions. I came in after Rugby and Cricket so I was good but I met with a brick wall from the local advertising agencies. One effort to woo one of the main operators Bob Harvey, who later went on to become Mayor of the West of Auckland convinced me my chances of being gainfully employed was nil. Why? Because those in power in the advertising industry even if they did not hate women although many did, just did not see them as employable or creative.  I was just dismissed. What a mistake!

But in Cindy Gallop and articulate women like her, Kevin Roberts has met his match. On BBC World this morning Cindy Gallop gave and interview of such clarity and substance that must have shattered Mr. Roberts confidence. Cindy Gallop spelled it out to him and the male advertising executives in words of one syllable that even they could understand that the male attitude to women today is just plain wrong. I am full of admiration for Cindy Gallop because I was unable to do this in Auckland and still today Auckland finds me uncomfortable because I am a woman. Sadly I cannot find a podcast of this exceptional women to link to. Maybe her comments are too uncomfortable for the BBC too. She is a lesson in how to give a BBC interview.

We need more Cindy Gallops to speak out and confront these selfish and biased white male executives in all areas who dismiss women's opinions just because they are women. Young men these days are guilty of misogyny as well. Young males can be just as devastatingly rude and vicious to women as any Kevin Roberts because they are trained to do so by their male elders. In fact some of them are worse, as being unmarried themselves, many are unlikely to have children, they see their career paths as a straight line to the top as any female competition will be removed and dismissed on the way. 

So was I good enough to compete with the boys? Well the video below was edited on video tape in 1985. It still looks good today. Think what I could have achieved.

I count myself lucky that women in future will no longer have to put up with this rot and will stand up say so and get the man removed fast. I do hope Kevin Roberts stays in the USA and does not return to NZ. Women in NZ can do without men like him. Well done Cindy!

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