The 50:50 Campaign: What we’ve found

A year since launching their 50:50 Campaign, the BBC have announced that they have seen a huge boost in female expert contributors in almost three-quarters of their news and current affairs/topical programmes. That’s a long way to come in a year and we have to say – it’s about time.

After hearing about the huge rise in female contributors at the BBC, we wanted to take a look at how 4media group fits into the 50:50 campaign and where we see this taking the industry.

We took a look at our array of work throughout 2019 and we noticed something. While the male to female ratio was pretty evenly split, we saw that the real difference came in the topic of the campaigns.

Whether it was business, tech, health, sport or consumer, we saw that things could vary greatly – depending on the campaign itself. When it came to health and consumer, we noticed that women were usually at least one of the spokespeople involved which was encouraging.

However the change came when we looked at business, tech and sport campaigns. Here we found that those campaigns relied heavily on male spokespeople, which we put down to the stereotypical idea that men are the ones that are ‘techy’ and ‘sporty’, so therefore ‘experts’ in those sectors. With these ideas still being so prominent in society, we clearly need to make way for new and refreshing models that break through those predictable customs. Getting more female contributors involved in campaigns that people wouldn’t necessarily consider ‘female’ is a great way to challenge people’s expectations of what they consider the ‘norm’ and create an even more impactful campaign – although it’s not always that easy. Hannah Emerson-Thomas from ITV News said it best herself during one of our press breakfast briefings when she stated, ‘Women don’t put themselves forward as much as men. We need to encourage more women to speak up.’ Inequality between the sexes plays a part as to why women don’t always put themselves forward and it’s why it’s important to us that we seek out women in all industries to ensure their voices and expertise are heard.

Hannah Emerson-Thomas Quote

With 4media group already having such an exciting year, there’s a big standout campaign from May demonstrating that when we go against the grain and work outside the box, we can see spectacular results. Powerleague, an operator of football pitches, saw vast coverage and amazing feedback when they worked with Alex Greenwood, the Lionesses defender and Manchester United’s captain. BBC Breakfast, BBC News, BBC Radio 5 Live, Newsround, TalkSPORT and Match of the Day Kickabout were just some of the highlights from an amazing day in Media City. The campaign looked at encouraging more women to get involved with football; a campaign driving female equality in it’s own right.  Powerleague’s powerful campaign demonstrates the clear need audiences have to hear from voices that are under-represented.

Looking back to earlier on in the year, another example of a campaign fronted by a strong female expert was Sunsail – a travel agency specialising in sailing – who got world travelling sailor Dee Caffari involved, and the results were amazing. With coverage from Sky Sports News, LoveSport and BBC’s from all over the country, having someone as inspirational and adventurous as Dee was a clear selling point and helped us get a lot of amazing feedback. It’s women like Dee who are helping to pave the way and create more equal opportunities in the sectors in which women are currently falling short.

We can see that the power of female spokespeople is bigger than ever and it’s our hope that 4media group will see a balance of male and female spokespeople across all sectors, in line with the 50:50 campaign, as we know that’s where great work can really come together.

By Kelsey O’Connor, Broadcast Account Executive

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