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Diageo CMO Syl Saller named Champion of the Year

Diageo CMO Syl Saller named Champion of the Year

 December 05, 2018

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Diageo chief marketing officer Syl Saller has been named Champion of the Year by Marketing Dive for her efforts to advocate for gender equality in the industry. 

"Great to see our CMO Syl Saller listed as 'Champion of the Year' by Marketing Dive for our work to promote progressive gender portrayals in advertising and accelerate diversity in marketing," commented Diageo.

Diageo's fight for gender equality

Diageo's agenda has always been focused on gender equality in the workplace and Syl has consistently led the way. Her career aim has always been to empower the next generation of female leaders through being a role model for gender equality herself. Syl is also not scared put herself forward and call out the advertising industry for issues such as unconscious bias to make demands for change. 

"The advertising industry is moving in the right direction to achieving greater gender diversity, but it must move quicker," explains Syl.

Diageo's pledge to Free the Bid

Among Diageo and Syl's many campaigns, Marketing Dive particularly highlighted Diageo's pledge to Free the Bid, where the company called upon its ad agencies and content producers around the world to ensure they put forward at least one female director as part of any creative bid.

"As advertisers we have the power to normalise gender equality by what we choose to show in our ads, and who we choose to produce them," said Syl. "The advertising industry is moving in the right direction to achieving greater gender diversity, but it must move quicker."

Highly ranked as a diverse company

Marketing Dive also accredited Diageo for its impressive ranking in the Thomson Reuters Diversity and Inclusion Index, where it ranking 4th out of the top 100 most diverse and inclusive companies. 

Diageo has also been recognised for leading the FTSE 100 for the representation of women on boards in the Cranfield School of Management Female FTSE Board Report. Diageo has also been included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index which highlights the steps Diageo has taken and the progress it has made in forging gender equality within its business, as well as in the communities in which it operates.

Gender equality in marketing campaigns

Marketing Dive also mentions Diageo's brand campaigns that pushed for better female representation, for example, Smirnoff's partnership with Spotify on a playlist Equalizer. Marketing Dive also references Johnnie Walker's introduction of gender-flipped Jane Walker for Women's History Month and International Women's Day, which was both an awareness campaign and a fundraising initiative to support women's causes.

"The whole paradigm of data versus creativity, I think, is wrong," says Syl.

Receiving official recognition

Marketing Dive's recognition is not the first time Syl has been officially named for her efforts to promote gender equality. She was ranked by Campaign Magazine, the definitive guide to the UK's most visionary, influential and powerful marketers, as one of the top 5 Global CMOs of 2017; and earned a place in the same magazine's Power 100 Hall of Fame one year later.

“I think we all, men and women, have a responsibility to be role models for gender equality," adds Syl. "Within Diageo, I put a lot of attention to that, I give voice to that."

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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