THURSDAY 11 OCT 2018 4:19 PM


As part of a campaign to mark the centenary of the first women’s right to vote, Transport for London and the City of London have £500k in advertising space up for grabs in their #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign to “challenge gender stereotypes, increase diversity and create more positive and inclusive [advertising] campaigns.” The initiative follows others where mayor Sadiq Khan has sought to bring Londoners together, including his post-Brexit endorsement of the ‘We Stand Together’ campaign to fight racial abuse and his London is Open campaign to market the city as a steadfast financial and cultural capital.

Proportional representation isn’t noted as an issue in the campaign’s mandate, but stereotypes and diversity are. According to a UCL survey commissioned by the City of London, respondents found that 73% of adverts in London aren’t relevant to them, while 51% of BAME Londoners feel underrepresented, 65% of LGBT Londoners feel underrepresented and under 20% can recall ever seeing disabled people in an advert. Such results are damning to an industry designed to reach and attract a mass-audience.

Rather than a limitation, Khan’s brief offers the kind of freedom coveted by creatives. The data indicates that there are huge groups of people yet to be represented. In asking agencies to not only communicate the diverse achievements of female Londoners but also to create ads that more Londoners can identify with, the campaign offers brands an opportunity to share their progressive gender values.

Department chains Harvey Nichols, Fortnum & Mason and Harrods have already begun promoting the #BehindEveryGreatCIty campaign in their window displays. The original suffragettes broke department store windows in protest, in particular those of Harvey Nichols. Together with TBWA, Harvey Nichols recently designed an event where prominent women broke its windows again in front of a crowd, including Helen Pankhust, great granddaughter of leading suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. Such events promote the character of brands without reference to any of its products or services.

The competition will remain open until 22 October 2018.

For more from Communicate magazine, follows us on Twitter @Communicatemag