Tiger Savage
Aug 9, 2016

'There are hundreds of Kevin Roberts in advertising': A senior creative speaks out

Tiger Savage, a senior female creative, gives her opinion on sexism in the industry and why Kevin Roberts' recent comments are just the tip of the iceberg.

Tiger Savage (Source: D&AD YouTube)
Tiger Savage (Source: D&AD YouTube)

Kevin Roberts is guilty of what most people of his age and position have been thinking for decades. The only difference is he's been found out.

I bet there are hundreds of Kevins in advertising thinking "Yes, exactly what I was thinking. Good on you."

What does he do for a job? He advises clients to communicate? And he’s got to that position of power? And he thinks he’s the expert on women and what they want?

Somebody must have liked what comes out of his mouth for him to be working all these years.

Sadly even though it’s 2016 it feels like I’ve just started.

Yes, there are amazing startups like Adam & Eve/DDB, Lucky Generals and 18 Feet & Rising to name but a few. And we’re in an amazing digital age, but it seems when it comes to women and diversity in advertising, we’re standing still.

The likes of Roberts had the best years of advertising when there was money to be spent on long lunches and weekends away "entertaining" put down as expenses.

I’ve worked for people like Roberts in my past who’ve told me "not to rock the boat" or "make enemies", yet I’d work like a dog, make the company millions, not take holidays in years, then have men promoted above me, all for what?

It makes me sad that my own experience is that you have to work so much harder than a man in advertising.

It’s all a game.

It’s like being 5 years old at school and the boys are playing with their toys and the girls are with theirs.

They don’t want you to play. It’s their game. They make the rules up as they go along. They’ll pretend you are complicit but you are not really.

Maybe you can join in for a while, but only if you do what you’re told. Tomorrow it’s back to their rules and don’t you forget it. Better work harder and we may let you in again. 

More fool us.

Everyone seems so surprised about Kevin. But he’s just a metaphor for what’s been going on for years. The only problem is he’s been found out.

One of the worst things a man could ever wish for—to be found out.

What an obvious, sexist, misogynistic, egotistical wanker he is.

Totally at home in 1988 advertising maybe. Not acceptable in 2016. But nobody told him.

Bless him. Been getting away with it for years.

He jokes about women at the pub all the time with his mates at Saatchis’ and Publicis, and usually gets a laugh. But not anymore, he’s been sent to Coventry.

Naughty Kevin, go sit on the naughty step.

Despite the obvious "dinosaur" sexual discrimination of people like Kevin, we are rising through.

There are so many amazing women like Helen Calcraft, Rosie Arnold, Chaka Sobhani, Kate Stanners, Juliet Haygarth, Cindy Gallop (respect), Vicky Maguire, Sue Higgs and Tamara Ingram in senior roles now.

The tides are turning.

We can be in No. 10.

We can be in the White House.

We can be who the fuck we want to be.

Let’s rule the world.


Tiger Savage is co-founder at Savage & King

Campaign UK

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