Hospitals in Lithuania are to begin advertising operations to patients in the UK | Daily Mail Online

Hospitals in Lithuania are to start advertising cheap operations to patients in the UK because of a surge in demand on the back of the NHS crisis.

Health Tourism Lithuania claims it has been inundated with enquiries from Britons frustrated at having to wait months for routine treatment.

The body has now revealed that, from next month, it will target patients across the home nations with Facebook and Google adverts.

NHS data revealed a total of 4.23million people in England were waiting for hospital treatment in March – the longest the waiting list has ever been.

Reda Ambrozaite, one of the founders of Health Tourism Lithuania, claimed the NHS crisis is tempting scores of patients to seek care abroad.

Some 48,000 Britons travelled abroad for treatment in 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics. This rose to 144,000 in 2016. And data published by the ONS suggests the figure was closer to the 300,000 mark in 2017. The final figures have yet to be released

Health Tourism Lithuania claims it has been inundated with enquiries from Britons frustrated at having to wait months for treatment (Pictured: A grab from its website)

‘We started functioning about a year ago and we targeted our business to [people in] Scandinavia because it’s very close,’ she told MailOnline.

‘But suddenly we started getting enquiries from the UK.’ 

Ms Ambrozaite revealed the body, which essentially operates as a booking agent, ‘can really see that something is going on’ in the UK.

Most enquiries HTL receives revolve around plastic surgery and dentistry, but they also hear from patients who want hip replacements.

The travel agency brags of being able to offer patients cut-price operations at clinics scattered across the country for procedures including cataracts surgery and IVF.

For instance, it told MailOnline patients can pay just £3,340 for a hip replacement. It costs in the region of £10,000 to have one privately in the UK.

Cataracts surgery costs as little as £730 while IVF can cost £1,230 per cycle. Private clinics in the UK can charge as much as £4,000 for cataracts and £5,000 for IVF.

And HTL says it can offer gastric bypasses for £5,000 – around a third of the price that the procedure can cost in private clinics in Britain. 


A man travelled to Lithuania and paid £6,000 to have his hip replaced because he was afraid he would die waiting for the NHS to get round to it.

Peter Gaillard, 86, was told he could have to wait 80 weeks (a year and seven months) to have the surgery near his home in Wales.

Instead of shelling out for private surgery in the UK, he flew to the Baltic nation and had the life-changing op for half the price – and the NHS paid him back for it.

Mr Gaillard, from Gwynedd in North Wales, went on the 10-day round trip in October last year and says the results are ‘extraordinarily good’.

After having his right hip replaced in the UK in 2004, Mr Gaillard noticed the same problem brewing in his left leg last year, the Daily Post Wales reported.

But the NHS board near his home – Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – told him he might have to wait more than a year for the operation. 

‘I did not feel at my age I could hang around for what might have been two years with everything getting worse,’ Mr Gaillard said.

Peter Gaillard, 86, travelled to Lithuania for a hip replacement after being told by the NHS in Wales he could have to wait more than 18 months to have the surgery in his home country

The total cost does not includes flights, hotel stays and airport transfers in Lithuania – but the agency also offers these as an add-on. 

Ms Ambrozaite said: ‘We are now planning to do some special advertising and PR in the UK.’ 

The company began to boost its public image two months ago but the social media and search engine adverts have yet to begin – Ms Ambrozaite said they will both start in June.

HTL revealed it has a budget of around £3,000 per month that is being spent on advertising, including its PR output. 

However, a spokesperson told MailOnline that they predict the budget will likely increase as time goes on.     

In a frank admission, Ms Ambrozaite revealed people between the ages of 55 and 75 will be targeted with the adverts.

Cataracts and hip replacements are very common procedures in older people, with the NHS performing thousands of both each year. 

Ms Ambrozaite added that younger patients may also be interested in the services it offers, such as breast implants and IVF.

NHS rationing has led to just four of 208 local health boards in England offering the ‘gold standard’ of IVF treatment of three full cycles for women under 40. 

Health Tourism Lithuania was unable to offer MailOnline any statistics to back up the alleged rise in demand from UK patients.

However, it said its research has revealed other agencies in medical tourism had also noticed a 50 per cent increase in enquiries in the UK over the past year.

The agency currently works alongside five clinics. They include GP Klinika in Kaunas and Kardiolita Hospital in Vilnius. However, only one is highlighted on its website (in red)


The NHS waiting list is longer than it has ever been and April was the busiest month on record for A&E departments, figures revealed earlier this month.

A total of 4.23million people in England were waiting for routine hospital treatment in March, a rise of 90,000 on the previous month.

The number shows 10 per cent more people were waiting than at the same time last year, which experts have branded a ‘failure’ of the NHS. 

The waiting list figures cover patients who need scheduled hospital treatment, usually operations, but are not emergency cases or inpatients.

Some 92 per cent of these patients should be seen within 18 weeks, the NHS states.

But in March this was only 86.7 per cent and the 18-week target hasn’t been met since February 2016.

A record 4.23million people are waiting for routine NHS treatment as the referral waiting list is now the longest it has ever been, figures revealed today. The list has risen by around two million people since 2009 (Graph compares figures for March of each year from 2009-2019)

HTL boasts on its website that the quality of the treatment centres it works with ‘are of top global standards’.

The agency currently works alongside five clinics. They include GP Klinika in Kaunas and Kardiolita Hospital in Vilnius.  

The NHS warns on its own website that patients should ‘be cautious of websites selling cosmetic surgery as part of a holiday’. 

The British Fertility Society told MailOnline it was concerned by the HTL adverts and could ‘not emphasise enough the risks of travelling abroad for IVF’.

Dr Jane Stewart, chair of the BFS, said: ‘Until we deal with the postcode lottery for NHS funded IVF, we will continue to see people going overseas. 

‘Ultimately this can cost the NHS far more in caring for multiple births and other complications.

‘While we understand the desperation that drives people to go overseas for treatment, we cannot emphasise enough the risks of doing so.’

Dr Stewart added: ‘The UK has one of the most highly regulated fertility sectors in the world. 

‘If you go elsewhere, you may not find the same standards of care and you may encounter practices that we consider unethical, here.’ 

Ian Eardley, a council member of the Royal College of Surgeons, told MailOnline: ‘We are aware that health tourism is on the rise.

‘Some countries are now positioning themselves as destinations for healthcare particularly for cosmetic procedures. 

‘They offer competitive prices and attractive packages in order to encourage this type of tourism.

‘Although it is difficult to know for certain, there is the possibility that some NHS patients are choosing to go abroad to avoid long waiting lists.’

He said the RCS ‘strongly urges’ patients thinking about having surgery outside of the UK to thoroughly research the dangers before committing to the procedure. 

The TaxPayers’ Alliance said the fact Lithuanian hospitals are advertising to British patients shows the NHS is ‘not performing well’.

John O’Connell, its chief executive, said: ‘The Government is putting more money into the health system, but this needs to come hand-in-hand with reform. 

‘The NHS needs to prioritise spending on essential services and cut out the administration and bureaucracy that eat up huge chunks of the health budget.’  

HTL revealed it has a budget of around £3,000 per month that is being spent on advertising, including its PR output

Government data shows the number of British patients flying overseas for medical treatment has trebled in recent years.

Some 48,000 Britons travelled abroad for treatment in 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics. This rose to 144,000 in 2016.

And data published by the ONS suggests the figure was closer to the 300,000 mark in 2017. The final figures have yet to be released.

Poland has led charts for the number of Britons seeking treatment abroad for many years. 

The most recently available dataset, covering 2016, showed 33,922 Britons travelled to the country for medical treatment.


Hip replacement surgery: 3,810 EUR (£3,370)

Hip implants: 1,650 EUR (£1,460)

Dental implant: 750 EUR (£660)

Root canal treatment: 70 EUR (£62)

Gastric bypass: 5,000 EUR (£4,420)

Heart angioplasty plus stenting: from 2,035 EUR (£1,800)

Breast implants: 3,500 EUR (£3,095)

Knee ligament reconstruction surgery: 850 EUR (£750)

IVF cycles: from 1,400 EUR (£1,240)

Cataract surgery: from 830 EUR (£735)

Source: Health Tourism Lithuania 

The RCS said many patients going abroad for treatment are likely to be returning to their home countries for non-urgent healthcare. 

Poland was followed by Hungary (15,884), Romania, (14,588), Turkey (11,987), Spain (10,741), France (6,389), Latvia (5,117) and Lithuania (5,058).

Spain has recorded a 10-fold rise in the number of British patients flying over for treatment between 2015 and 2016.

While rates tripled in India and doubled in Poland and Hungary over the same time frame, according to the ONS data.

But the ONS’s figures may not be fully representative – fewer than 12,000 Brits went to Turkey for treatment in 2016, they revealed.

But the Turkish Healthcare Travel Council claims the true figure was closer to 17,356 – 44 per cent higher than the figure quoted by the ONS. 

The body also claims there were 23,563 visits from Britons to doctors in Turkey in 2018, up again from 19,967 in 2017. 

NHS patients can apply to claim back the costs of private treatment which the health service was unable – but expected – to provide. 

In March, it was reported an 86-year-old man went to Lithuania to have his hip replaced because he was afraid he would die waiting for op on the NHS. 

Instead of shelling out for private surgery in the UK, Peter Gaillard, from Wales, had the life-changing procedure for £6,000 – and the NHS paid him back for it. 

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson accepted that some patients do seek treatment abroad.

But they added that the percentage of patients seeking surgery abroad is ‘less than one per cent of the people treated in the UK’.  

‘Over a million NHS patients start elective treatment with a consultant each month and the majority are seen and treated within 18 weeks,’ they said. 

The spokesperson added the NHS Long Term Plan, backed by an extra £20.5billion a year for the NHS by 2023-24, would ‘cut long waits’ for planned surgery.


Government data reveal the number of British patients flying overseas for medical treatment has trebled in recent years.

Some 48,000 Britons travelled abroad for treatment in 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics. This rose to 144,000 in 2016.

And data published by the ONS suggests the figure was closer to the 300,000 mark in 2017. The final figures have yet to be released. 

This content was originally published here.


Campaign success: Sainsbury’s told to stop advertising ‘Fairly Traded’ non-Fairtrade tea – The Co-operative Party

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which regulates adverts and packaging, ruled that adverts featuring Sainsbury’s ‘Fairly Traded’ tea has the potential to mislead consumers, by implying that the tea was in fact Fairtrade Certified when it is not.

As we reported in November, last year Sainsbury’s withdrew its tea from the official Fairtrade scheme, instead opting to set up its own internal ethical standards which it labelled as ‘Fairly Traded’.

At the time campaigners pointed out that Sainsbury’s labelling lacked the transparency and accountability of Fairtrade, and amounted to the supermarket piggybacking on consumer recognition of fair trade, while ducking the standards and certification fees paid to the Fairtrade Foundation which administers the official scheme.

As one of the UK’s largest Fairtrade retailers, there are fears that Sainsbury’s apparent loosening of its commitment to Fairtrade could threaten the integrity of the label, as well as confusing consumers as to what the standards mean.

Co-operative Party MPs, led by Stella Creasy and Stephen Doughty have been instrumental in challenging what they dub ‘fauxtrade’ tea, working in partnership with Labour colleagues including Holly Lynch and other members of the cross-party Fairtrade APPG to draw attention to the issue.

Since November, thousands of party members and supporters have also signed a petition calling on Sainsbury’s to reverse the decision. While the supermarket has not yet agreed to resume Fairtrade certification of its tea, today’s ruling presents a huge opportunity for it to do the right thing and to restore its well-earned reputation as a champion of fair trade.

Commenting on the ruling, Co-operative MP Stella Creasy said:

This ruling should be a wake-up call for Sainsbury’s that backing out of the Fairtrade movement and pretending its Fairly Traded tea is the same won’t wash – the ASA agree how Sainsbury’s present its products will confuse consumers. Put simply, its ‘fauxtrade’ tea is not the same thing and consumers deserve the right to know.

Today the ruling on our complaint about @sainsburys#fauxtrade scheme has been made public as upheld by advertising standards authority- their pretence that their tea is ethically sourced to consumers to the standard of @FairtradeUK. It’s not and shouldn’t be marketed as such. https://t.co/nGMvpw57UJ

— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) March 7, 2018

Fairtrade Fortnight debate in Parliament

Separately,Geraint Davies MP led Co-operaitve MPs in a debate in Parliament today to mark Fairtrade Fortnight. He joined with MPs of all parties in drawing attention to the enduring strength of the Fairtrade label and the positive impact it makes on the lives of the World’s poorest.

Fairtrade farmers receive 34% more income. We need to make sure that the right price is paid for the products ending up in our supermarkets. Find out more & sign the @CoopParty petition ? https://t.co/rciigY6Fy5pic.twitter.com/Mxuck3j4wK

— Geraint Davies MP (@GeraintDaviesMP) March 7, 2018

Building on the Party’s campaign ‘Don’t Make the World’s Poorest Pay for Brexit’, Davies also secured assurances from the government’s International Development Minister Harriet Baldwin MP that trade deals pursued by the UK post-Brexit will uphold existing protections for developing countries. Baldwin’s comments are warmly welcomed, and we look forward to hearing them reiterated by her colleagues across government.

So with action in parliament, beyond and by members across the country, voices across the Co-operative Party are using this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight to celebrate the success of Fairtrade and to champion a fair deal for the world’s poorest.

This content was originally published here.


‘Visit North Korea’ advertising board appears at non-league Blyth Spartans | JOE.co.uk

Fancy a January getaway?

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – or as it is most commonly known, North Korea – is one of the most secretive and closed-off nations in the world. Its human rights record is widely viewed as diabolical, travel from and around the country for citizens is heavily restricted. The tightly controlled media keeps out any Western influences, with propaganda instead fostering feverish devotion to leader Kim Jong-in amongst the population.

It is not somewhere you would really consider going on holiday, is what we are saying.

The North Korea tourist board wants to change that though, building water parks and ski resorts in the hope of luring foreign visitors.

But it seems what is really missing is advertising at non-league English football matches.

This “Visit North Korea” sign was spotted on Boxing Day at Croft Park, the home of Blyth Spartans.

Blyth Spartans have acquired a ‘Visit North Korea’ advertising board at Croft Park. So many questions.#NonLeague pic.twitter.com/WWhgVnk2Lx

— Non League Nomads (@Nonleaguenomads) December 26, 2018

The advertising was for “Visit North Korea”, and organisation that “help foster greater understanding and engagement with the country in productive ways. “

“Although it is certainly, it is unique and unconventional, Visit North Korea is nevertheless proud to be able to help support the great English game at a local level and secure publicity for clubs in the North of England,” said a blog on their website. “In the process, by promoting our programs we aim to help people broaden their horizons and think differently about the world.”

Blyth play in the National League North, which is the sixth tier of English football.

The commercial deal was also announced in the matchday programme for the side’s 2-2 draw with Spennymoor Town.

Blyth Sparatan’s commercial director Mark Scott tweeted, thanking Visit North Korea for their support.

For those that like to travel to far flung places our new @Blyth_Spartans advertiser @Visit_DPRK would love to hear from you! Thanks to @Visit_DPRK for your support and if anyone there needs a team to follow @Blyth_Spartans isn’t be a bad choice ? pic.twitter.com/iP86GI08Q8

— Mark Scott (@BSAFCCommercial) December 27, 2018

This week: texts with Sam Burgess, nights out with the Barbarians, relegation from the Premiership and big bodies
with James Haskell, Mike Tindall and Alex Payne

This content was originally published here.


Vet left dog to die alone overnight despite advertising ’24-hour care’ – Lincolnshire Live

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A dog was left on its own to die overnight in a vets that was advertised as providing 24-hour care.

Penny and Anthony O’Callaghan took their beloved Kiwi to the Riverside Veterinary Practice in Spalding after they feared he was suffering from an urgent stomach condition.

The vet was able to carry out a successful emergency operation on the 11-year-old German Shepherd–Wolfhound cross.

But he was then left to recuperate from the surgery on his own for more than seven hours overnight.

Kiwi was found dead the following morning, leaving the O’Callaghan’s devastated.

Elizabeth Law, the vet who carried out the operation, was reprimanded by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons following the dog’s death.

They said it was a ‘serious mistake that she made in failing to ensure that Kiwi was checked or monitored overnight’.

The dog’s owners told a disciplinary hearing that one of the reasons that they chose her practice was that it advertised itself as a 24/7 operation.

At the time of the incident, the Riverside Practice stated on its Facebook page: “24-hour care is provided at our practice, with our vets.”

A Royal College disciplinary panel said Miss Law – who had been a vet for nine years – had made a ‘serious mistake’ which resulted in a ‘serious lapse of clinical judgement’.

However, the practice was cleared of dishonestly claiming that it offered 24/7 service.

The vet argued that this simply meant vets were available to be called out at any hour, rather than they were permanently staffed around the clock.

Mrs O’Callaghan said: “We have been pet owners for 20 years and we know all the right questions to ask when we sign up to a surgery.

“The crucial thing is that my pets can be offered 24-hour care.

“Riverside advertised that they provide care 24/7, but Kiwi was left by himself after a major operation.”

She believes that if a vet had been there to look after Kiwi, he would not have died that night.

“I was re-assured that everything was successful, and I slept peacefully that night – I couldn’t wait to wake up and call Riverside to check on him and bring him home,” she said.

“They called me the following morning to tell me he had died overnight. I was devastated and angry.

“I was absolutely heartbroken, and I am disappointed that Riverside have been let off the hook without any serious action being taken.

“It makes me very concerned that other vets offer this service but in reality it is only 24-hour response – not 24-hour treatment.

“We trusted the vets completely and left our pet in their care.”

The disciplinary panel was told that Kiwi’s owners had taken the dog to the Riverside practice during the evening of November 7, 2017.

Both of them suspected that he was suffering from a condition called ‘bloat’ – where the stomach fills with gas and can become bloated.

The 11-year-old dog was treated and operated that evening before a nurse made a final check on him at around 12.30am.

“(She) felt he was stable and could remain on fluids until the following morning,” the judgement, which was published last week, says. “Kiwi was left alone overnight, during which time no visits or checks were made to assess and/or monitor his condition.”

Kiwi was found dead in his kennel at 7.45am the following morning. Miss Law rang the O’Callaghan’s to break the bad news.

“Mrs O’Callaghan asked if Kiwi had been on his own when he died, and (Miss Law) said yes,” the judgement states. “Mrs O’Callaghan was extremely upset and could not continue the call.

“Mr O’Callaghan was very upset and angry at what had occurred and asked (Miss Law) why she had left a dog alone after life-threatening surgery. She said they were a small practice and they did not have the staff.

“He said that he did not care and that they advertise themselves as providing 24-hour care.”

Professor John Williams, an expert witness at the hearing, said that Miss Law’s decision to leave Kiwi alone “fell below the standards of a reasonably competent veterinary surgeon”.

The panel agreed with this assessment.

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Riverside owner Julia Creese was also cleared of any wrongdoing surrounding the death. It ruled that the practice had not advertised itself as offering 24/7 staffing.

A written statement by Mrs Creese said: “Although we do offer a 24-hour emergency service at this practice, rather than using a designated out of hours provider, we are not a hospital and don’t have staff on site overnight.

“Details of the level of cover that we provide is available to read in the waiting room on our practice noticeboard.

“We did not advertise the practice to have staff on site 24 hours a day and I do not know why the O’Callaghans thought this was the case.”

This content was originally published here.


Make Advertising Great Again – TechHQ

In the good old days, advertising was always geared towards the more traditional outlets, such as television, radio, outdoor and print. But these days, as everything goes digital first, so does the art of advertising.

Make no mistake, highly-targeted advertising is here to stay, and while our online experiences are dominated by what giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon choose to do in the marketplace; perhaps the more pertinent aspect of this brave new world revolves around machine learning (ML).

ML and artificial intelligence (AI) are often intertwined these days, and their predictive learning capabilities are altering the digital marketplace, using algorithms that analyze, compare and identify configurations that appeal to the masses— all while maximizing ROI, hitting KPIs and optimizing spend.

While these technologies cater for staggering granularity in audience targeting— distributing ad spend based on viewable impressions to hit the desired audience based on the needs, trends and nuances of each desired target market— the potential for data collection, in this day and age, is truly something else.

Consumers always have certain buying patterns, likes, and dislikes which are now accessible via data that is being collected from a myriad of touch points. Decision-makers in the marketing field now have the tools to ensure the efficiency, speed, and relevancy of their advertising in an ever more crowded arena.

Programmatic advertising uses AI to optimize buying and selling ads on mobile, display, video and social channels on platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter— and a universe of web publishers—  optimized with insights on audience to drive highly-targeted and highly-viewable campaigns.

A show of these technologies leading role, search and advertising giant Google, meanwhile, calls itself “AI first”— AdWords is predominantly powered by ML— while Juniper Research predicts the technology to be on track to generate US$42 billion in annual advertising spend by 2021, growing from US$3.5 billion in 2016.

So what does the future hold for ML and AI? With the number of consumer data touchpoints growing by the day as they navigate their daily lives— advertisers can now gather voice search data through voice assistants, for example, the era of highly-personalized advertising is arguably just beginning.

Sir Martin Sorrell, while subject to recent controversy, is adamant that the relationship between clients and agencies are undergoing massive recalibrations. In this day and age, he believes that the old adage of “faster, better and cheaper” is the way to go, and advanced technology is the inevitable way to achieve that.

Ultimately, ML and AI are taking the advertising industry by the scruff of its neck. It’s a brave new world for advertisers, marketers and consumers alike. While creative agencies now have to concentrate on end-to-end customer journeys too, a new dawn for advertising is beckoning.

As Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

This content was originally published here.


Sexism in advertising: ‘They talk about diversity, but they don’t want to change’ | Media | The Guardian

I n 2017, Victoria Brooks, the vice-president of Bloom, a network for women in advertising and communications, had an idea. Aware that there were some subjects its members found difficult to discuss even among supportive peers, she decided to set up what would come to be known as the Booth of Truth at the organisation’s inaugural day-long conference in Clerkenwell, London. Inside this enclosed space, women would be able to write down their experiences of such things as discrimination and sexual harassment, safe in the knowledge that they would be anonymous. These anecdotes would then be used at the end of the day as fodder for a panel discussion and advice session that she and the president of Bloom, Stephanie Matthews, would call Confessions Live.
The first booth (there have since been others) was inflatable, and resembled an igloo. It contained a sofa, a selection of coloured pens, and a box into which the confession cards could be posted. But if this sounds light-hearted the result was precisely the opposite. “It was an outpouring,” says Brooks, whose day job is as an independent strategy consultant to the advertising industry.
On the table in the office where we’re meeting, she and Matthews, a campaign manager at Virgin, carefully lay out a selection of the cards. What they reveal is shocking. Some of these haikus of misery, inscribed in red, purple and green, are so horrible, I seem only to be able to absorb them by reading them very slowly, out loud.
Someone once wrote a card saying that any woman who speaks out will never work again
“I arrived in London for my new job and the CEO said: when are we going to fuck? When I rebuffed him, he said: why did you think I recruited you? For your excellent strategy?”
“My old CEO asked another member of staff if he had ‘been through me’.”
“Feeling sick and pretending to laugh it off when your head of trading tells you that you look ‘OK’ today, and that he ‘definitely would’ in front of the whole team.”
“When your CEO tells you that he only hires ‘pretty, blond girls’ and then regularly invites female employees back to his hotel for champagne.”
“I was once told to ‘slap my dick on the table’. It was my male CEO trying to tell me I needed to be less female when it came to stakeholder management.”
A few moments tick by, and then Brooks says: “It feels like Mad Men , doesn’t it? You think this stuff is done. But it’s not done at all.” Isn’t it possible for women formally to complain about such behaviour? Or is the mere existence of the Booth of Truth the answer to such questions? She nods. “Someone once wrote a card saying that any woman who speaks out will never work again.”
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Elisabeth Moss (centre) as Peggy Olson, working to be taken seriously as a creative in Mad Men, season 2. Photograph: Everett Collection / Rex Feature
The #MeToo movement, which began its life as a hashtag in October 2017, following allegations of sexual abuse against the Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein, has, Brooks believes, had a mixed effect on the world of advertising. People are certainly more aware and increasingly mobilised. The ad industry’s own campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace, #timeTo , a joint initiative between the Advertising Association, NABs (the National Advertising Benevolent Society, a charity that aims to improve the wellbeing of those who work in advertising) and WACL (Women in Advertising and Communications), was launched in March 2018, and has since produced a code of conduct that has been endorsed by 180 companies. In the US, Diet Madison Avenue, an anonymous Instagram account dedicated to exposing sexual harassment in advertising, has allegedly led to several men losing their jobs since it began last year (it has since been closed down).
But this doesn’t mean that most sexual harassment has gone away – or that its victims are finding it any easier to report. The movement has, moreover, had unforeseen consequences for women. Like several others I speak to while researching this piece, Brooks believes there is truth in a recent study by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In foundation, which found that since the advent of #MeToo men have pulled back from, say, one-to-one mentoring relationships with women. (Is this due to genuine anxiety, or is it simply a convenient excuse? The Lean In foundation, and the more generous-minded, insist it’s the former. Either way, the result is a double unfairness for women.)
“The tendency is for people to go into their camps,” says Brooks. “The sisterhood, and the brotherhood. What we need to do now is engage feminist men.” Bloom is actively seeking senior male mentors with whom its members might work. Meanwhile, she and Matthews also plan in the near future to hold an event featuring a Booth of Truth in which men will have the chance to offer up their own experiences.
Even those who know almost nothing about advertising – leaving aside our collective memories of the Smash robot, the Milky Bar Kid and the Honey Monster – have a sense of how it used to be. Some of us were avid for Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men , the 60s-set TV series that according to one (male) CEO captures the early days of advertising so perfectly “it might as well have been fact”. Others may remember the widely reported antics at the likes of Saatchi & Saatchi in the late 70s and early 80s (the agency started by Maurice and Charles Saatchi created, among other things, the line “Labour Isn’t Working” for the Conservative party in 1979). As Richard Myers, Simon Goode and Nick Darke note at the beginning of their 2017 book Chutzpah & Chutzpah , Saatchi was once so famous that when invited to participate in a competition in which agencies could promote themselves on a huge screen in Piccadilly Circus, it came up with the line: “Name the first advertising agency that comes into your head.” This was followed a few seconds later with the word: “Exactly.” Advertising was not only flashy, awash with cash and champagne (and possibly other substances); above all, it was charged with testosterone. It was a boys’ club, and this showed in the campaigns it produced for everything from Wonderbra to Yorkie bars.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Gustavo Martinez. Photograph: D Dipasupil/Getty Images
A lot has changed. Nevertheless, the past three years have not been good for the industry’s reputation when it comes to gender and diversity. In August 2016, Kevin Roberts, the executive chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, stood down after saying in an interview that the debate about gender bias was “over” and implying that women lacked the right kind of ambition for leadership. In October 2017, Justin Tindall, the chief creative officer of M&C Saatchi caused an outcry when he wrote, in a column for a trade magazine, that he was “bored of diversity being prioritised over talent” (Tindall later apologised for his remarks; he is still in his job, and the agency has since installed a head of culture and inclusion, Sereena Abbassi). In March 2018, The&Partnership apologised to its staff and any others who were offended by an email sent by a departing junior employee, Paul Martin, in which he ranked his female colleagues according to attractiveness (one comment read: “If you were the last girl on earth, I would use you as bait to trap a wild animal I would be happier fucking”). In June 2018, Gustavo Martinez, the former CEO of JWT, left WPP two years after the company settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against him (WPP is JWT’s holding company). This came just two months after Martin Sorrell, WPP’s founder, resigned after 33 years following allegations, strenuously denied by him, of personal misconduct and misuse of company assets (the claims made against him involved visits to sex workers and a culture of bullying).
The statistics, moreover, speak for themselves. Now that companies employing more than 250 people are obliged by law to release their gender pay figures, all the world can see that in advertising something is badly amiss. The numbers make sorry reading. In 2018, the worst gender pay gap in the industry was 44.7% at JWT. JWT has a reputation for being very male, but at AMV BBDO, whose CEO was then a woman, Cilla Snowball, it was 37.5%; at adam&eveDDB, an agency also run by a woman, Tammy Einav, the gap was 34.2%. Across the industry, 29% of staff are women, but they tend to rise only so far; they are more rarely in leadership roles, on the board, or partners – and it is this, in part, that skews the figures. More notably, they account for only 12% of creative directors, often among the most highly paid roles in an agency.
Those white guys are sitting pretty. Enormous salaries, bonuses, stock options, expenses… Why would they rock the boat?” Cindy Gallop
“When we do presentations, our killer slide is a photograph of all the creative directors: basically, a load of white men,” says Ali Hanan, a former creative at Ogilvy who is now the chief executive of Creative Equals , an organisation that champions diversity in the creative industries. “Then we show a slide of the people they’re making ads for: 85% of purchasing decisions are made by women. It’s shocking. The Advertising Standards Authority wouldn’t have had to introduce guidelines on gender stereotyping if more women had been working on the ads in the first place.”
It is, she says, a vicious circle. “Women are often not invited to the pitch table [when the agency is working on a pitch for a new client]. Their work is 10% less likely to be put forward for awards, and when it is, historically, the men have always been running the juries. Thanks to all this, 12% of creative women are thinking of leaving in the next couple of years.”
Women may be held back by a lack of mentors (only 25% of women have a female line manager) and by long-hours culture (during a pitch, people are often in the office until the small hours). But there is also the question of what happens to new mothers. According to Hanan: “There’s a phrase in our industry: you’re only as good as your last piece of work. That’s particularly unforgiving for those coming back after maternity leave.”
Two women told me about their experiences in this regard. “I was often the only female in the room,” says one former creative. “When I came back from having my son, my work had been handed to a 23-year-old man. I got a lawyer, pursued a discrimination case, and won a pay-off that was big enough for a down payment on a flat. But I also had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. They bought my silence.”
The use of NDAs is widespread. “There is absolute paranoia about image and damage limitation,” says one CEO. But while the signing of an NDA may secure a larger financial payment for women who have been discriminated against, it comes with a heavy price. “I’ve met women who have signed NDAs,” says Nicola Kemp, an editor at the trade magazine Campaign . “They’re a form of gaslighting. The women turn in on themselves, blaming themselves for experiences that are not their fault. That companies address this culture in the future is vital. In my opinion, it’s a form of corporate negligence.”
Finally, there is the issue of sexual harassment, another means by which a woman’s career may be derailed. Opinions vary as to how widespread it is in the industry. A survey of 3,500 advertising employees carried out by the #timeTo initiative found that 34% of women questionedhad been harassed, the majority of them more than once. A quarter of the sample had been harassed six times or more. Among females aged 18 to 24 – in other words, women at the beginning of their careers – 20% had been harassed, most by more senior colleagues. Of those who reported their harassment, half were dissatisfied with the outcome; 83% had not reported it on the grounds that they didn’t trust the reporting system and were afraid of damaging their careers.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Kerry Glazer.
“Our industry is a very social one,” says Kerry Glazer, the CEO of AAR, a former president of WACL, and one of those involved in #timeTo. “Our survey told us that harassment was most common where socialising, travel and alcohol were involved.”
Is she optimistic these figures will have improved when, later this year, the companies that have endorsed #timeTo will be surveyed?
“Yes, I do feel optimistic,” she says. “The code sets out clearly what to do if you have experienced or witnessed harassment, or if you have overstepped the mark yourself. It is clear that if a company doesn’t act properly having signed up to the code after someone comes forward with a complaint, it will be very much the worse for it.”
But others think these figures are just the tip of the iceberg – even if this is something they will only talk about off the record. NDAs are also being used in sexual harassment cases, and while the victim of such abuse then leaves the company, the perpetrator, if they are sufficiently senior, is often simply shifted into another role (this is what happened to Gustavo Martinez). Such men are sometimes moved abroad, to work in the holding company’s interests in, say, Hong Kong or Singapore.
Again and again, as I researched this piece, the same name came up: a senior executive whose behaviour was, by one account, associated with no fewer than eight NDAs. He was one of those who had been sent elsewhere, thus keeping his status and high salary. What is particularly enraging is that in at least one of these cases, the NDA must have been signed off by, among others, a woman executive.
Cindy Gallop is an industry legend. The founder of the US wing of BBH and the former chair of its board, she left advertising in 2005 to set up her own consultancy; in 2009 she launched MakeLoveNotPorn, a website that hosts amateur porn videos. She is known for her TED talks. She believes that sexual harassment is “systemic” in advertising, and that it is the single biggest brake on female success: “It manages women out, destroys ambitions, derails careers, crushes dreams.”
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Cindy Gallop: ‘I am horrified by the names. These are men I considered friends, who I thought were the good guys. Now I know what they’re really fucking doing.’ Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian
In October, 2017, after the New York Times broke the Weinstein story , Gallop thought that the moment might have come for people in her world to speak out. “I put a post on Facebook, asking people to name names, agencies, holding companies, brands, everything – and I was inundated. I got an absolute avalanche of emails.” At the time, Gallop committed publicly to breaking these stories in the media, but she has since had to admit to failing “spectacularly” on this score: “No one will go on the record. The powerful men run everything, and they [the victims] are scared shitless.”
Has this surprised her? “I am horrified by the names. These are men I considered friends, who I thought were the good guys; who looked me in the eye and told me how highly they thought of women. Now I know what they’re really fucking doing.” Like Nicola Kemp, she thinks women are “crumpled” by NDAs. “We need to reposition what it means to be a whistleblower in our industry. They’re the true heroes. People should be falling over themselves to hire them.”
Gallop, an Oxford University graduate, began her career in advertising in the mid-80s, after working as a theatre publicist. Though she did not recognise the environment then to be particularly sexist – “a fish does not know what water is; that’s the way it was” – does it surprise her that things haven’t evolved more in the years since? “You’re going to have to forgive me for sounding utterly exasperated,” she says. “Yes, I’m fed up with nothing changing. But the reason that nothing is changing is because at the top is a coterie of white guys talking to white guys about other white guys. Those white guys are sitting very pretty. They have enormous salaries, gigantic bonuses, huge stock options, lavish expense accounts. Why on earth would they ever want to rock the boat?”
What about all their initiatives, though? The heads of inclusion? The fact that they have endorsed organisations such as Creative Equals and #timeTo? She sighs. “They have to talk diversity. They have to say the word ‘diversity’ a lot. Secretly, they don’t want to change a thing. The system is working fine for them.” What about the senior women now rapidly rising up through the ranks? Does she think they will be able to make a difference? “Those senior women are signing off the NDAs and the pay-offs for the serial harassers and the rapists – and I use that word very deliberately, and in the plural. Internalised misogyny and the patriarchal system mean they’re doing exactly what the men want them to do, which is to hush it up and make it go away at all costs.”
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Mothercare’s much-criticised 2015 ad for children’s toys that dressed girls up as 50s housewives.
Jo Arden is someone who knows all about the patriarchy. The chief strategy officer at MullenLowe (and the most senior woman at the agency), she read women’s studies at Bradford University. “I was on a course with some very separatist feminists,” she says, with a smile. Arden, who is 43, is one of a new generation of women in advertising: clever, ambitious, and extremely good at her job, but also plain-sighted and plain-speaking when it comes to the problems in her industry. Like the majority of the women I speak to for this piece, she is state-educated (she attended a comprehensive in Oldham) and knew nothing about advertising, or how to get into it, growing up. After university, she worked in recruitment: her specialism was the maintenance trade, so she spent her time hiring plumbers and bricklayers; it was very male and “quite brutal”. With the same company, she then moved to London, where she set up a division putting placements into ad agencies. It was at this point that she got interested in advertising, and her next job was in business development at an agency.
Arden believes things have changed a lot since then: a time when women were, as she puts it, slightly sarcastically, “invited to get involved by the men, without the men realising what barriers stood in their way”. Why have things changed? “My view is that scrutiny is the main reason,” she says. “We move fast when there’s a business imperative. If we had seen a business imperative in broader representation sooner, we would have changed a fuck of a lot sooner.”
The bottom line is that clients want their agencies to be more diverse, because such teams will make better, more relevant work: campaigns that more fully reflect the world and the people in it. They want “authenticity” – and they, after all, pay the bills. Diageo, which makes Bailey’s and Guinness, is one of the companies that has led the way on this (its chief marketing officer, Syl Saller, is a woman). The agencies, then, have (albeit more slowly) come to agree. The most forward-thinking are increasingly keen to hire more women and people from BAME backgrounds – and then to hang on to these recruits by allowing them to be what Arden calls “their whole selves”.
There are still events where people think I’m the cloakroom assistant Karen Blackett
MullenLowe recently invited Creative Equals to carry out an agency-wide survey that would provide hard data on how it is doing in terms of diversity: “They make you stare down the reality of your situation, and it was pretty difficult hearing the story of a workforce that feel less empowered to achieve their potential than we would like. But it has also enabled us to focus on what we’re worst at.”
The agency, with help from an organisation called Hidden, which handles its recruitment, has begun using so-called “blind” CVs, on which all details that might reveal a person’s background in terms of gender, race, social class and education are removed. What about pay? “We have pay parity at MullenLowe, and a thorough promotion and pay-rise scheme that is moderated across the business. We have a gender pay gap because of our senior executives.”
The agencies I visit, with their iPad check-ins, their groovy furniture and their “werk perks” (boxing, yoga, massages), seem very white. But that isn’t the whole story. Currently, advertising’s most successful (and visible) woman is Karen Blackett , the chair of MediaCom UK, and the daughter of first generation immigrants from Barbados (her father was a bus conductor; her mother was a nurse). As a child, Blackett “loved the ads on television as much as the programmes… I would try and come up with better jingles.” She had no idea that advertising was a career; it was only after her geography degree at Portsmouth University that she began subscribing to MediaWeek and Campaign , in a bid to land herself a job. This, she soon did, “and it was incredibly strange; I was one of only two black people in the agency”. How did that make her feel? “There were moments when I lacked confidence, but I could see I could make a difference.”
Blackett, now 47, rose determinedly through the ranks. How did she do it? “I think finding organisations where difference is celebrated is so important, and I was fortunate: I managed that. I did make mistakes. I joined companies where everyone was the same, and meant to respond in the same way. But I learned to leave if I wasn’t comfortable, and I had the benefit of amazing mentors: people who could talk about my talent when I wasn’t known to senior management.”
Was she ever on the receiving end of sexism or racism? “Yes, absolutely. I remember earlier in my career, you’d talk to someone on the phone, and then you’d turn up for a face-to-face meeting and they’d be visibly shocked. There are still events where people think I’m the cloakroom assistant.”
How can someone like her effect change? The answer is: fairly easily. “It’s no coincidence that when I became CEO, I put in place programmes to change our diversity: 40% of our entrants are now from a BAME background. We also created an apprentice scheme, and we now run insight days where our apprentices go out, in turn, into communities. We’ve got rid of CVs as well. We’re more interested in behaviour. In interviews, we’ll ask people, say, to tell us about a time when they were brave.”
There is, though, still some way to go. “Only 36% of senior leadership across the industry is female. We do need to do more. But we can’t do it without the smart men. If they’re in the majority, they’re the ones who can effect change. Let’s bring them with us.”
I wonder if Blackett has ever been sexually harassed. “Probably, yes. There were comments, the odd person who got a bit too friendly. But I’ve had enough conversations in the past year with women to know that it still happens; I’ve seen enough verbatims. There are – I try to be compassionate – people in our industry who do not realise this is not OK, and we need to help them. But there are also some people who know full well what they are doing, and they need to jog on, frankly.”
Mothercare’s positive 2019 campaign celebrating women’s real, post-birth bodies.
One of those Blackett has occasionally quietly mentored is Sarah Jenkins, the chief marketing officer at Grey, whose clients include Volvo and M&S. Jenkins grew up in Weymouth, the black child of adoptive white parents, and went into advertising because “in the late 80s and early 90s, the time of the Levi ads and the Wrigley ads, they were better than the TV programmes”. She has never been sexually harassed, but she knows of women who have been. Like Blackett and Arden, she is clear-sighted both about how far Grey has come, and how far it still has to go. The pay gap at Grey remains high (in 2018, the figure was 24.6%, but this has risen in 2019 to 31%), that “clearly isn’t right”, and in order to help begin correcting it, two-thirds of its women employees have now been through a coaching programme: “They need to be powered up,” she says. But getting results in terms of diversity isn’t, she admits, always straightforward. For instance, while the number of new entrants from BAME backgrounds is on the rise, many of these same people are privately educated.
Jenkins loves her job (“I like it that my mum can say: I saw your new ad”) but her experiences as a black woman in the industry have been, as she puts it, “contradictory… There’s an assumption, still, that I’m not as senior as I am. Sometimes, when I come down to reception, people assume I’m an assistant.”
Does that make her cross? “I think they’re an idiot, so it’s more pity that I feel, really. But I also think: you’re about to learn how incredible a black woman can be. I’ll be on my A-game. I can’t see a point when it has hindered my career. In a way, it has propelled me. I can’t [allow myself to] fail. I stand out, I’m different, I’m memorable, I perform.”
What about the ads themselves? In 2017, Mothercare was widely criticised for the 1950s-style marketing of its clothes (one ad featured a little girl dressed as a housewife, pushing a vacuum cleaner). Cut to 2019, however, and it is running a campaign that “celebrates” post-birth bodies. Things are changing rapidly, and yet, the fact remains: only 12% of creative directors are female. Thinking about this led me eventually to Jo Wallace, creative director of JWT, who last year found herself at the centre of a very public row when she said at a conference that she wanted to “obliterate” its reputation as an agency that is full of white, straight, privileged men (soon after, several men who had been made redundant at JWT, launched a discrimination case against the agency).
Wallace cannot talk about this case, which is ongoing. But she is happy to discuss her work – and JWT’s pay gap, which at the same conference she and a colleague reportedly said had put “a rocket up the arse of all of the agency’s diversity plans” (in 2019, the figure at JWT has improved by about six percentage points to 38.3%) . She believes that fixing pay differentials may be easier than people make out. “If you need to fill a role, there should be a bracket of pay that is relevant to that role. One recruiter I know has now stopped asking questions, like: ‘What are you on now?’ Instead, they will ask the agency: ‘What are you willing to pay?’ It’s a simple idea, but it works.” In the past, some recruiters have “almost assumed” that women would end up being paid less, largely because they often ask for less.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest An image from the If England Gets Beaten So Will She campaign during the World Cup.
Wallace, who grew up in Essex where she attended a “super compy-comp”, did the advertising course at what is now Buckinghamshire New University, and landed a job as a copywriter at Howell Henry Partners, then home of Tango and First Direct, straight afterwards. Did she find it very male? “Well, it’s not as though I walk around thinking I’m a woman and they’re men. I saw it more as… I know I can do this. Interestingly, I wrote ads that people assumed were written by men. As a writer, you have to be able to change your tone of voice – and you know, guys can write tampon ads. Some of the best tampon ads lately have been by guys.” Nevertheless, she thinks clients are right to believe that a mixed team will ultimately produce better work.
Wallace, like all the women I speak to for this piece, spends a lot of her time working on side projects: among other things, she runs a networking evening club called Good Girls Eat Dinner . But she also believes that advertising itself can effect change, and when I ask her which work she is most proud of she mentions not only the recent Aero campaign , in which bubbles are made using big band music (hard to describe unless you have seen it), but also a reactive campaign made for the National Centre for Domestic Violence during the World Cup last year. “ If England Gets Beaten, So Will She ” read the posters, which showed a woman’s face emblazoned with a St George’s Flag, its red cross drawn in blood.
It was, she says, a project they simply had to do. A team brought the idea to her, she saw in an instant its potential (it hit the news in 13 countries around the world), and the agency produced it in eight days. “We are keen to do work that makes a difference,” she says, a statement that might sound like spin if she didn’t look both so determined, and so sincere.

This content was originally published here.


H&M hoodie: Romelu Lukaku joins outrage against ‘racist’ advertising campaign

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has joined the criticism of H&M’s controversial new advertising campaign in a unique and brilliant way after the retailer sparked a racism row this week. H&M have apologised for advertising an image that was branded racist that showed a black boy wearing a green hoodie with the slogan ‘Coolest Monkey in the Jungle’ across it.

This content was originally published here.