It’s three years since the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity introduced one of its most fascinating awards categories. Glass: The Lion for Change exists to appreciate creative work that shifts culture. To win in this category, an idea needs to try to change the world, to make a positive impact against ingrained gender inequality, imbalance or injustice. As the festival officially defines it: “The Glass Lion recognises work that implicitly or explicitly addresses issues of gender inequality or prejudice, through the conscious representation of gender in advertising.”
Madonna Badger, chief creative officer at Badger & Winters, is an ideal choice for Glass jury president. In 2016 she announced that she and her agency would no longer create imagery that objectifies women and began the #WomenNotObjects initiative, which went on to win the first-ever United Nations award for Social Development Goal #5 - Gender Equality. This crusade against sexist advertising continues, two years on.
LBB’s Alex Reeves caught up with her to find out what’s going through her mind ahead of the Glass jury deliberations.
LBB> How are you preparing yourself for your stint in the jury room this year?
MB> Really comfortable clothes. Ha. And making sure that everyone in the room has a voice.
LBB> Last year's Glass winner was of course Fearless Girl. Is there anything about that campaign that you'd like to see in entries this year?
MB> The disruption of Fearless Girl, the modernity and strength. I also love how it is in bronze, so it never goes away, unlike social media or TV. The lasting appeal feels very strong to me.
LBB> What are the trickiest elements of the Glass Lion to judge?
MB> Stunts vs. long lasting impact. How do we make that decision? Judging the power of creativity to make long lasting change in gender equality.
LBB> This year has seen the #MeToo and #TimesUp conversations emerging and demanding change regarding sexual harassment and gender inequality. How would you define the impact of those phenomena, both on culture and on advertising?
MB> I see these in two parts, one is awareness building and the other is action taking.
#MeToo makes the invisible, visible. Women saying no more to sexual harassment as a chorus of voices, takes away the shame and guilt felt by victims of this sort of abuse. In culture and advertising, it’s no longer ok to objectify women as playthings, there for a man's pleasure. This has enormous significance in how women are portrayed in culture and advertising.
#TimesUp is more of a call to action. An outing of perpetrators of sexual harassment and a way to do that.
LBB> How do you think will they'll impact on the Glass Lion jury deliberations and the entries you'll be considering?
MB> I am not sure, but I imagine that work that speaks for the silent, and / or work that calls out the guilty, whether abusers or governments, will have a deeper meaning.
LBB> In the age of "wokevertising", how do you differentiate between a brand trying to piggyback on a social movement or cause and one that plays a genuine role in improving society?
MB> Piggybacking is obvious and a bit annoying. On the other hand, when one comes across a piece of work that has changed laws or societal norms, the genuineness and power in the work is felt immediately.
LBB> What words of advice will you be giving to your jury?
MB> Vote with your heart, not your head. What we say yes to will affect next year's work, so lets vote for what has true disruption and impact.
LBB> Obviously you’re going to spend a lot of Cannes 2018 locked inside for jury deliberations… but is there any event or talk that you’re hoping to catch while you’re there?
MB> Anything that Colleen DeCourcy speaks at. I'm a very big fan.