Australia’s creative industry wants to ‘clean up its act’: Drop The Shade results revealed

In September, Paper Moose and Innocean, creators of Fck the Cupcakes, launched the Drop The Shade survey within Australia’s creative industry. Today, the preliminary results have been revealed.

The survey was created in response to how the industry is interacting with other people’s work and its impact, and comes after Innocean and Fck The Cupcakes staff received death threats and vile comments on trade media from a campaign for International Women’s Day earlier in the year.

It aims to address and understand the issues around receiving feedback in the creative industry, including the impact of negative, unsolicited and anonymous feedback, both on individuals and the creative community as a whole.

“It’s been clear to me for a while that change was needed to address the toxicity found in parts of our industry,” said Jeremy Willmott, creative director at Paper Moose.

“This survey validates the need for change and has given us a shot in the arm in getting the next phase of our project live. It’s time we stop tearing each other down and start loving our work a bit more,” he continued.

According to the survey findings, people in the creative space “don’t want to end the industry discourse, they just want it to clean up its act”.

80% of respondents had fed back or publicly commented on someone else’s work, with 58% doing it regularly (at least a few times a year).

57% of the survey respondents think other people are mainly negative in their feedback, and 54% say they have been personally affected by the negativity.

Over three-quarters agreed that negative feedback is impacting talent retention and discouraging new talent.

Jasmin Bedir, CEO of Innocean and founder of Fck The Cupcakes, said: “The results of the study speak for themselves and it seems that the industry really wants to change the discourse we’re having about our craft in marketing and advertising. We want to feel pride in our work, in our teams, our production partners and our clients.”

In March, Bedir was among the staff receiving personal death threats following Fck The Cupcakes’ International Women’s Day campaign. Trade forum Campaign Brief’s coverage of the campaign led to nearly 100 unmoderated comments, with a significant number of vile ones.

At the time, Bedir told Mumbrella the comments “trivialise the hard work we do as marketers and agencies by inviting anonymous ridicule and vitriol”.

“[Campaign Brief] applies zero duty of care, takes zero accountability for the impact it has on creative talent in this industry and how unprofessional it makes the entire industry look, and yet it keeps on existing.”

The full report will be made available in the new year, as well as the first draft of the Love Our Work Industry Charter – a voluntary charter for the industry.

“The Love Our Work charter is an attempt to bring us together as an industry and lift each other up,” Bedir said.

Willmott concluded: “Love Our Work’s mission is to elevate the standards of the advertising industry by holding ourselves accountable to the way we give creative feedback. Our aim is to rid ourselves of the toxicity we see and hear in our workplaces and on our professional forums.

“We believe that giving good creative feedback is crucial to helping nurture young talent and protecting the mental health of us all.”


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