timeTo highlights the fear of sexual harassment at this year’s Cannes festival in hard hitting ad campaign - NABS
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timeTo highlights the fear of sexual harassment at this year’s Cannes festival in hard hitting ad campaign

timeTo calls for senior agency people to protect the staff they are sending to Cannes.

With stories of appalling behaviour and sexual harassment already surfacing in the industry in the run up to the first in-person Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity since 2019, timeTo is releasing its 2019 film “Where do you draw the line?”.

Created by Lucky Generals, the uncomfortable and hard-to-watch film was initially released to raise awareness of the harrowing on-going issue of aggressive behaviour and sexual harassment that happens at the festival.

The film will also be backed by some brand-new social images that build on the original messaging, but update them to make them directly target some of the specific fears around this year’s festival.

With the distance of three years and a global pandemic since the last in-person Cannes, the film and social campaign is now being redistributed as a reminder to everyone visiting the Côte d’Azur that sexual harassment is not only still an issue but could be worse this year. In 2020, research commissioned by timeTo found that in a survey of 1,250 people, half (49%) expected sexual harassment to rise as the industry returns to office working. Nine out of 10 (89%) added that sexual harassment is an issue the industry still needs to tackle. 

Leaders have a duty of care to keep their staff safe

The company you lead is obliged to address and deal with harassment which is prohibited under legislation including the Equality Act 2010 and Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

timeTo is also urging senior leaders and agency heads to properly look after their staff who are travelling to Cannes and put proper plans in place to protect them.

Tips to keep staff safe at Cannes:

  • If you are in a senior position, you have an extra obligation to set an example and not use your power over people more vulnerable than you.
  • Set the culture: make it clear the standards of behaviour expected of everyone in the workplace, even when in Cannes.
  • Familiarise yourself with the timeTo Code of Conduct and share it with your team attending Cannes
  • If you aren’t an endorser – sign up NOW and download the Code and assets so that you can share them with your team
  • Leaders also ought to be talking to every member of staff ahead of the event to ask them to let them know immediately if they are feeling unsure or under pressure. Make sure you are contactable for your staff and know they can go to you day or night if they are being harassed.
  • Look out for your colleagues: If you are a witness to sexual harassment, speak up. Tell the person that their behaviour is neither funny nor appropriate or point out the offence. Explicitly point out to them what they are doing and cite the code if necessary. Offer support to the person on the receiving end of the harassment
  • Pre-book your cab back to the hotel or premises where you are staying if you know you going to be returning late from a function
  • If you see something happening that you know is making a colleague very uncomfortable or distressed, step in, speak up, go to their assistance
  • Have the NABS advice line number to hand if you feel you need advice and support 0800 707 6607

It is crucial that this film and its messaging reaches as many people as possible to remind everyone that while Cannes is a unique industry moment where we see the best of creativity the industry has to offer, it is also home to some of the most shocking and dangerous behaviour.

Helen Calcraft, founder member of timeTo and founder of Lucky Generals

Created by Lucky Generals and Another Film Co’s Steve Reeves. The 60 second film, shot from the point of view of a young woman, Kelly, shows her getting into a taxi after a night event at Cannes whilst a male colleague corners her as he climbs into the taxi demanding a change of destination to his hotel and puts his arm around the clearly uncomfortable woman. At each point the male colleague is inappropriate, the frame freezes on Kelly’s face and a red line draws over the screen. ‘Where would you draw the line?’

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