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February 6, 2016
#WomenNotObjects | |

Badger & Winters

It seems that the advertising industry - or at least some parts of it, anyway - have finally realised that treating women with respect is not only the right thing to do, but good business, too.

US advertising agency Badger & Winters are using the hashtag #WomenNotObjects to make a powerful stance: they've pledged to never objectify women in their ads, and are calling on the wider industry to do the same.

The agency revealed this weekend that they were the anonymous uploaders behind an eye-opening, two-and-a-half minute YouTube video that went viral earlier this month, racking up almost 1.5 million views in about two weeks after being shared by the likes of UN Women and Huffington Post.

Using a simple Google search of the words "objectification of women" as its starting point, the video highlighted the extent to which the ad industry uses sexualised and sexist imagery of women to sell products.

In the clip, women hold up controversial ads from Burger King, Balmain, Post-It Notes, American Apparel and more, and critique the industry's lazy reliance on women's bodies and sexual suggestion.

"We wanted [the video] to be judged on (a) its content, but (b) we really wanted to see what the reaction was about it, outside of the realm of the industry," exec Michelle Badgertold Women's Wear Daily this week.

"Now we're coming forward saying it was us, we were the ones who posted it, because we are taking a stand today that we will never objectify a woman again in any of the advertising, content, posts - any form of communication that we do for any of our clients."

Badger, a veteran figure in advertising who helped create those '90s Calvin Klein ads featuring scantily-clad Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg, noted that a family tragedy - her three daughters were killed in a house fire in 2011 - led her to reconsider her work in the industry ("I've been looking for my purpose. It's certainly bigger than making money," she said) and address the harmful ways traditional advertising actively preys on the confidence and self-esteem of young women.

"This goes back to advertising and that old paradigm, which is, 'There is something wrong with you. We're going to create shame and anxiety inside of you and then we're going to provide the product, goods, service or brand to fix that anxiety.' That paradigm is gone. The new paradigm that we believe in is, 'Understand, listen, have compassion, get inside of her life, understand her value system and then put your brand out there in such a way that makes sense with her value system'," she told WWD.

"I'm willing to take responsibility for whatever my part has been, but more importantly I'm willing to take responsibility for hopefully putting a voice to this and changing the way that we all look at advertising and how women are used in it," she said.

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Today, Badger & Winters made a announcement to end objectification of women in advertising. Please share if u agree

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