Clemenger BBDO Sydney, Finch and Facebook release documentary about sexism in the tech industry based on 1970s Playboy shot ‘Losing Lena’

Clemenger BBDO Sydney, Finch and Facebook have come together to create a documentary about Lena, the woman whose 1972 Playboy image became the test image for digital photo coding, and remains the most famous test image in the world.

In conjunction with Creatable and Code Like A Girl, the documentary, titled ‘Losing Lena’, examines the impact the image had on excluding women from the tech industry.

The documentary draws a thread between the ongoing popularity of the Lena image and the bias women in STEM industries continue to face.

In a first for the Australian film industry, the documentary will be distributed on Facebook Watch from November 26.

A campaign has also been launched alongside the documentary, calling for the image to be retired from the tech world, just as Lena retired from modelling many years ago.

Code like a Girl has also launched a chatbot on Facebook, developed by Kamber, where people can commit their support to losing Lena.

The campaign asks the tech industry commit to retiring the Lena image

The concept for the film and campaign originated from Clemenger BBDO Sydney, with Finch joining the project to film the documentary.

Clemenger BBDO Sydney chief creative officer, Ben Coulson, said he hoped the story of Lena would be a wakeup call for the industry: “The future is being written right now in dark rooms by a group made up of predominantly men. If we want a better, more diverse world, many more talented women are needed in technology. We hope the story of Lena acts as a wakeup call and a catalyst for positive change.”

Finch Director, Kyra Bartley, added: “I was struck by how succinctly Lena’s story demonstrates the impact of small, seemingly inconsequential actions on the generations who come after – and of course the spotlight that throws on our current attitudes to recognising and addressing problematic practices within STEM industries.

“Far from being a finger-pointing exercise though, the film encourages people to engage with these ideas as part of a broader conversation on diversity, and to consider the ways in which their own actions could contribute to moving us all forward.”

Code Like a Girl founder and CEO, Ally Watson, said the Lena image represented the shortcomings of the industry.

“The role of Lena’s image in tech’s history is representative of so many of our industry’s shortcomings. Tech is used by everyone – no matter your age, gender, ethnicity, or sexual identity. But when our tech is developed by a small subset of homogenous individuals, it’s impossible for the end product to be without bias,” Watson said.

“This documentary illustrates just how much effort is still needed to increase diversity in the teams building tech. It’s a call to the leaders of our industry to commit to Losing Lena. Because with the removal of one image, we’re better positioned to welcome millions of women to the table.”

A statement from Lena said: “I retired from modelling a long time ago. It’s time I retired from tech, too. We can make a simple change today that creates a lasting change for tomorrow. Let’s commit to losing me.”


Client: Creatable
Greg Attwells – Co-Founder

Client: Code Like A Girl
Ally Watson – Founder & CEO
Josephine Colson – Chief Marketing Officer

Creative Agency: Clemenger BBDO Sydney
Ben Coulson – CCO
Brendan Willenberg – Creative Director
Brendan Forster – Head of creative technology
Chris Pearce – Senior Copywriter
Rowan Foxcroft – Senior Art Director
Dave Lidster – Creative
Daniel Mortensen – Head of Craft
Ivan So – Digital design lead
Jay Young – Senior digital designer/developer
Dale Emrose – Front end designer
Denise McKeon – Head of Integrated Production
Claire Bisset – Interactive executive producer
Nick Garrett – CEO
Cath Bosson – Group account director
Smaran Jworchan – Senior account director
Rebecca De Beer – Communications Planner
Joe Maurici – Editor
Alex Guterres – Editor
Emily Cornelius – Editor
Jess Morgan – Online Editor
Robbie Balatincz – Sound Engineer
Paul Nagy – ECD

Production Company: Finch
Kyra Bartley – Director
Francesca Walker – Produced By
Michael Hillard – Producer
Luke Mazzaferro – Producer
Rob Galluzzo – Executive Producer
Corey Esse – Executive Producer
Loren Bradley – Executive Producer
Anna Howard ACS – Director of Photography
Kris Rowe – Editor

Media Partner and Film Distribution: Facebook
Andy Blood – Creative strategist, Facebook Creative Shop
Karen Maurice-O’Leary – Creative strategist
Digital and Bot Development: Kamber
Jonathon Bink – Bot UX Design & Production
Rebeccah Churchward – Producer

PR (Australia): Clemenger PR
Nick Zonnios – Head of Clemenger PR
Sophie Trutter – Senior account manager
Georgia Randall – PR & Social Coordinator

PR (USA) – Porter Novelli
Strahan Wallis – Project lead, MD
Sarah Lewis – Project lead, account manager, diversity & inclusion champion
Kylie Banks – Media relations lead, account supervisor
Rosie De Queljoe – Media relations co-lead, senior account executive
Sarah Vasquez – Account executive
Gladys Cardenas – Assistant account executive
Caroline Regan – Cone Communications account manager


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