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#metoovertising: the institutional work of creative women looking to change the rules of the advertising game

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In the wake of #Metoo, the ad industry is coming to terms with its own issues of sexual harassment. While the industry has publicly committed to address this, recent surveys indicate that the problem persists. We therefore explore the institutional work of actors who are constrained by these gendered institutional arrangements. We consider how they might be involved in changing established dynamics and seek to erode the sexist attitudes and behaviours prevalent in ad agencies. We consider the work of Les Lionnes, a collective of women working in French advertising agencies, who form a boundary organisation to address sexual harassment in the French industry. By conducting critical discourse of their 2019 poster campaign, together with a netnographic study of their social media sites and an interview with its founder, we identify how communicative resources are used to expose the sexist attitudes and behaviours embedded in discourse. Our findings show actors can use advertising to challenge the continued legitimacy of institutional logics. The success of this work may be further enhanced when it is aligned with a wider social discourse, such as #Metoo. We therefore conceptualise the advertising undertaken by Les Lionnes as institutional work which seeks to expose sexual harassment and abuse within the ad industry. We call this novel form of advertising #Metoovertising.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Marketing Management
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 18 Sep 2020

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  • THOMPSON-WHITESIDE_2020_cright_Metoovertising The institutional work of creative women

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