Those who work in the advertising industry aren’t altogether unfamiliar with the rampant sexual harassment that occurs during and after a workday here. With Display Ads slowly overtaking other forms of marketing, it logically follows that the issues which women (and men) face with harassment are alarmingly high, to say the least. Considering other media industries such as the TV and film industry are now launching apps to facilitate the reporting of sexual harassment, why should the Display Ad industry lag behind?
Granted, creating and launching such an app is sure to come with its own set of challenges. After all, what works for one industry may not work for another so there’s no guarantee that the same model used for the TV and film industry app Call It! will suit the online marketing industry too. But does that mean that display ad companies shouldn’t bother making such an app? Certainly not!
Over the years, as more and more people transitioned from working in the offline ad industry to the online ad industry, the latter has witnessed a significant spike in harassment cases. Reliable studies conducted in the past have shown that over one-quarter of employees who work in the ad industry have experienced unwanted sexual advances (or abuse) at some point or another. It’s difficult to say what percentage of this one-quarter of employees belong to the display ad industry, but we would guess that it’s quite a significant figure.
After all, the digital marketing industry has a market size of over $50 billion, so you can imagine how many people it employs. Unfortunately, it is often the case for large-scale industries to witness increasing harassment and bullying patterns since these industries are so competitive. Those who work in these industries are often afraid to jeopardize their jobs since they’re aware that large companies can replace them quite easily. Therefore, you can see why these incidents go largely unreported under such circumstances.
With the increasing awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace and the kind of negative publicity that a company generates because of it, more and more industries are looking for ways to keep it firmly in check. It can be difficult to encourage workers to come forward and report harassment, especially if the employee whom they’re being harassed by is in a relatively senior position, which is often the case. A company would need to implement strict policies and procedures to make reporting a hassle-free and safe process for employees.
This is where an app comes into play. Display Ad companies can consider using apps that are different versions of Call It! which are more suited to the industry. Using the same version of the app that’s going to be used for the TV and film industry may not be entirely effective for the digital marketing industry simply because there are significant differences between these industries.
The corporate structure, policies, values, and the kind of employees that each industry employs are sure to differ from each other, albeit in subtle ways. In other words, no two employees from two distinct industries are likely to have the same experience with sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. Sometimes, inappropriate behavior from employees that is overlooked by one company can become grounds for termination or worse in another.
If the largest players in the display industry come together and work out a blueprint for how a reporting app could work, it could prove to be a massive step towards making employees feel safer. Naturally, when employees feel safer and more at ease in their workplace, they’re likely to be more productive as well. Since the display ad industry requires a great deal of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking from PPC experts and graphic designers, they can’t be expected to churn out good ads if they feel unsafe or pressured.
Besides, incidents of sexual harassment can create a bad impression of your company in the eyes of customers and impact your brand image, maybe even for good. And why shouldn’t it? Sexual harassment is no laughing matter and the companies that have either turned a blind eye to it or taken a passive approach to eradicate it have faced the heat from today’s cancel culture.
Think about it, would you hire the services of a company that doesn’t take employee safety seriously? Making employee safety a priority should therefore be on the cards for every major agency that creates display ads today. If not, they shouldn’t be surprised when their reputation and (consequently) sales suffer because of it. A good app to report harassment should be one that not only facilitates reporting but also provides support options for users who have undergone a traumatic experience.
For instance, Call It! is meant to suggest mental health and counseling services for employees who use it to report unsavory encounters that they’ve been subjected to in the workplace. In this way, employers can ensure that their employees recover better and can also take steps to ensure that the latter never have to go through a similar experience again. Such an app should also have the means for employers and experts to monitor the patterns of harassment that take place within a particular company or industry.
Well, that’s our two cents on it – why the display ad industry can benefit from an app designed to help users report sexual harassment in the workplace. Hopefully, with an app like this in place, employees feel safer and happier when they’re at work. This should, after all, be a priority if not for the sake of productivity then for the sake of basic human dignity.