How agencies are marking Equal Pay Day

The gender pay-gap is real, especially in advertising. And for Equal Pay Day, agencies are marking the occasion.

Agency Doner is launching an internal wage audit and will stage an all-employee walkout across its offices in Detroit, Cleveland, Los Angeles and London today. At 3:24 p.m. local time, all of the network’s 500 employees will leave their respective offices.

There is special meaning behind the time 3:24 p.m, which is the exact time when 80 percent of the nine-to-five workday is complete. And with women earning 80 percent of the salaries men do, Doner is recognizing this as the time during the work day when most women deserve to leave because they stop getting fair compensation.

The agency has also launched a microsite, for information and resources to conduct a wage audit. There is also an Exit 3:24 PSA and social content, which the agency will run across its social channels.

The advertising industry is paying more lip service to diversity than ever before, but the reality of women actually working in agencies remains bleak. A 2016 study from Foresight Factory, for instance, revealed that only 23 percent of women in media, advertising and creative positions believe that their pay is equal to their male peers; while only 12 percent of men in the same categories think their pay isn’t equal to their female peers.

R/GA has partnered with career site The Muse, professional women’s community Ladies Get Paid, chatbot developer group and salary tracking firm PayScale to create a Facebook bot personified by none other than Cindy Gallop. The bot aims to balance the playing field by helping women practice negotiating with Gallop.

All you have to do is log into Facebook and search for “Ask Cindy Gallop.” After being prompted for some basic information like your job title, seniority and location, the bot will then tell you whether you’re making more or less than the average salary in your field.

You can then practice your negotiation strategy with the bot, with Gallop offering you words of encouragement like do what a “straight white man would do” or “If it’s me, you know bloody well what I would do: Prepare, present my reasons, get paid. A lot.”

The bot is “40 percent facts, 60 percent confidence and a 100 percent badass Cindy Gallop,” according to Brad Jacobson, senior experience strategist at R/GA and the bot’s designer.

“We felt that it was very important for us to do something that attacked the gender pay gap, not just by bringing awareness to the issue, but by creating true utility to take action on it,” said Kate Carter, senior copywriter at R/GA. The bot, which launched today, took three weeks to build and was designed based on Gallop’s tweets, talks and conversations Carter had with her over the phone.

Outside of the U.S., independent European agency mortierbrigade has also jumped in on Equal Pay Day, creating a video in partnership with Equal Pay Day Europe that features a 9-year-old girl working with President Trump on his speeches as his spin-doctor. The video is inspired by a study which found that Trump’s grammar in his speeches is “just below 6th grade level.” The video tackles the pay gap issue by insinuating that this is exactly the age women should start working to make as much money as men do during their lifetime.

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