Does the advertising industry have a problem with negative feedback?

Is negative creative feedback affecting the advertising industry and adding to the talent crisis?

Innocean, creator of Fck The Cupcakes, has teamed up with B Corp agency Paper Moose to pose that question to adland.

According to the agencies, giving good creative feedback is an art and important for creatives to improve and grow, but the impact of negative, unconstructive feedback may be profoundly affecting the industry, including mental health.

The agencies have collaborated on a survey for the creative community, to collect individual experiences in order to understand the issue. They aim to take a deep dive into how the industry interacts with other people’s work and its impact on mental health, as 28% of adland is affected by an ongoing mental health condition, and one in three people are not disclosing this to their employer*.

The findings will be analysed to produce a report on the state of creative feedback and its impact. The ultimate goal of the project is to create a voluntary code of conduct across agencies and publishers.

Jasmin Bedir, CEO at Innocean, said: “As an industry we can do a lot better in collectively celebrating the thinking and craft that goes into our work and our contribution to the Australian economy.

“Tearing each other down makes us smaller in many ways.”

Paper Moose’s creative director, Jeremy Willmott, said he has seen first-hand the effects of creatives getting poor feedback.

“Words really do sting,” he said. “But most creative leaders never get any formal training in how to give good feedback and we don’t hold ourselves accountable, as an industry, to a code of standards, so we thought it was time we do something about it.”

Earlier this year, Headspace’s annual Workforce Attitudes Toward Mental Health Report found that almost half of the media and marketing industry feels extreme levels of stress on a daily basis, and one in five dread going to work at least once a week.

However, 98% of respondents said their workplaces provide adequate support via mental health programs and benefits.

At the time, Headspace’s chief executive officer, Russell Glass, said a focus on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is “beneficial to the bottom line”.

The survey is live here and will run until 22 September.

*Advertising Council Australia’s Create Space census, 2022


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