Isobar CXO Cheyney Robinson Discusses Diversity & Big Ideas in World's Biggest Free NewspaperIn Wednesday's edition of the Metro, the largest free daily newspaper in the world, Isobar EMEA & APAC Chief Experience Officer, Cheyney Robinson, was interviewed about female leadership in the advertising industry, and her involvement in See It Be It, the Cannes Lions Programme. You can read the full interview below.
M> What's the big idea?
CR> See It Be It, which puts senior creative women in the spotlight, expands their contacts and builds their confidence to accelerate their careers. An estimated 25 per cent of ad agency creatives are women, but only 11 per cent reach creative director level. I took part in the first programme in 2014 and returned as a mentor in 2016. I'm still reaping the benefits.
M> Which women inspire you?
CR> Oprah Winfrey - she's had a very interesting trajectory as a media mogul. She's shaped and celebrated stories from different walks of life. She saw the opportunity to create an industry around personal story telling and sharing that experience. I saw her speak at a US fundraiser and she blew my mind. In the loo, she asked if I had a bobby pin for her hair. I felt like it was meant to be!
M> What doors do you think have been shut to you as a woman in the advertising industry?
CR> I think it was just a matter of having a seat at the table, an increased opportunity to really contribute to my organisation at a deeper level. It's vital to have diversity represented - you get a different perspective that is so important.
M> What ad campaigns have really wowed you in recent years?
CR> I am inspired by creative work that encourages female empowerment and social activism. Dove's incredible campaign for Real Beauty, Always' #LikeAGirl and Under Armour's I Will What I Want drove this trend in advertising in 2015. Creativity, in its purest form, is provocation and all three of these campaigns use the power of creativity to make people think, to feel and to act.
Other work I have been inspired by include Check It Before It's Removed, a breast cancer awareness advertising campaign that went viral on social media because it purposefully showed breasts and was therefore immediately censored. It cleverly flouted guidelines on social media to bring attention to the cause.
M> Is the advertising industry still a man's world?
CR> I have a less pessimistic view. Manhattan advertising executive Madonna Badger is See It Be It's ambassador this year and that's extremely inspiring - she lost her entire family in a house fire in 2011 and to honour her daughters she set up the #WomenNotObjects campaign to end the objectification of women in adverts. I have also been a mentor Shift, a night-school programme from ad agency D&AD for young creative people. I have a very positive view of where the industry is heading.
M> What advice would you give women embarking on a career in advertising?
CR> No one job provides everything, so keep networking and stay active in the creative community. Join the British Interactive Media Association (bima.co.uk), for example, because you will find encouragement and development that can augment your job.
M> Do you grit your teeth when you watch Mad Men?
CR> I don't really watch it but have seen bits of it. I think it's an interesting timepiece but I'm pleased the industry has moved on. But we still have a long way to go.
This interview is part of Isobar's campaign to elevate and broaden the discussion on diversity. Stay tuned to Isobar’s blog, and social media channels to stay up to date.