TimeTo ramps up efforts to tackle sexual harassment ahead of festive period

Adland’s response to #MeToo has unveiled the next steps in its efforts to crackdown on sexual harassment in the advertising industry, including a new toolkit, training programme and refreshed campaign.

The UK advertising industry’s response to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements is launching a number of new initiatives as to tackle the ongoing prevalence of sexual harassment in the sector.

The latest piece of research from the timeTo steering group and thinktank Credos reveals one in 10 people from the 232 advertising and marketing companies that signed up to the initiative have experienced sexual harassment over the last year.

Of the 1,114 respondents, 14% of those were female aged 18 to 24, 47% have been harassed more than once, 31% ignored the incident and only one in five reported it – the same figure as last year.

Forty-six percent said their company would benefit from very clear sexual harassment guidelines and policies, while almost a third of respondents called for training on how to deal with sexual harassment.

As such, timeTo is launching an extensive toolkit for all endorsing companies, introducing a refreshed ‘Where Do You Draw The Line?’ campaign for Christmas and making a new training programme available for the beginning of 2020.

The sad truth is that sexual harassment continues in our industry and we are determined to do everything to put a stop to it.

Diana Tickell, NABS

“While awareness levels of timeTo and the ‘Where Do You Draw The Line?’ campaign are good, it’s clear that sexual harassment is still happening in our industry, as recently as in the past 12 months,” says Karen Fraser, director of Credos.

“Most victims are not officially reporting sexual harassment and this has to change. Our industry needs a new set of tools and resources to help put an end to sexual harassment.”

The toolkit, which has been built by specialists in mental health and wellbeing at NABS, includes an annual planner for companies to map out high-risk areas on their calendar where a combination of social activities, alcohol and overnight stays are more likely scenarios for sexual harassment risk.

One-pagers have been created for management and HR on the legal risks around sexual harassment; for staff on what sexual harassment is including a clear list of inappropriate behaviours; for people who have been harassed on what to do; for witnesses of sexual harassment on how to report it; and for people who believe they have been wrongly accused.

‘Meet me/at 10pm/in my hotel/room/come alone’: Sexual harassment ads ask marketers where they draw the line

TimeTo has also developed a sexual harassment policy insert to enable organisations to better include the code in their company policies; a timeTo Endorser deck for leadership to present to staff meetings; and timeTo Endorser signature banner and sticker logo for corporate websites.

“The sad truth is that sexual harassment continues in our industry and we are determined to do everything to put a stop to it,” says Diana Tickell, chief executive of NABS.

“We need all of our endorsing companies to play their part in ensuring everyone has a safe workplace and that, in the event of sexual harassment, people feel confident to report it with the certainty that action will be taken.”

TimeTo is a collaboration between the Advertising Association, NABS and WACL. It launched in March 2018 and is aiming to eradicate sexual harassment from the UK advertising and marketing industry.