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Backlash Over Ad Week’s Finale Concert – Digital Gabe
Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

Backlash Over Ad Week’s Finale Concert

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During this year’s Advertising Week in NYC, there was a tangible effort to elevate females in marketing and agency circles.  On Thursday there was a programming track called “Future is Female,” with seminars titled “Fighting Bias” and “The Business Case for Female Inclusion.” Another track on Monday was devoted to “Diversity and Inclusion.”  Addressing these topics is an important, not to mention overdue, way of eliminating gender-bias in our industry.

Sadly, all those well-intentioned daytime programming efforts were diminished by the selection of Pitbull for the Thursday night finale concert.  As described by AdAge, the show featured “Pitbull, flanked by backup dancers wearing sparkly red thong one-pieces, performed choreography full of booty-spanking and objectifying gestures.”  The juxtaposition of the moment wasn’t lost on the attendees.  “Advertising industry closes week of diversity and equality panels with an empowering display of twerking and booty-slapping,” wrote Matt MacDonald, group executive creative director at BBDO.

To be clear, this really isn’t a Pitbull issue.  He’s been doing the same stage show for a decade, and any concert organizer knows what they’re getting with his performances.  The real issue is the tone deaf selection during a moment when our industry is trying to turn the corner on gender equality.  We certainly have a ways to go.


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