The&Partnership caught in bizarre sexist email mire

Did you know there was a “tradition” among London agencies of sending out ‘Top Five” and “Bottom Five” rankings of female employees by their looks when someone leaves?

Me neither but planner Paul Martin at The&Partnership, currently claiming it’s “big, bold and bionic” and the agency of the future, followed it – which would probably have led to him losing his job if he wasn’t already leaving. Martin has since apologised for his unfunny observations.

CEO Sarah Golding, who’s also president of the UK agency trade body the IPA, says: “We do not condone sexism of any kind at The&Partnership London. We have apologised to our staff and others for any offence this email has caused, and we have taken action to make it clear to all employees that we will not tolerate emails of this kind being sent in the future, by men or women at this agency.”

Sounds like a Friday afternoon folly. One can only wonder at the foolhardiness of such an action with the formidable Mrs Golding residing in the building. Spitting feathers probably doesn’t do it justice.

Those agencies…

This is an updated version of an earlier story.


I see that the Advertising Association, Wacl (the Women’s Advertising Club of London as was), industry charity NABS and others (including the IPA) are investigating sexism in the industry under the timeTo banner.

AA CEO Stephen Woodford says: “Our industry, like many others in the UK and around the world, is going through a critical reset in terms of behaviour change. The Advertising Association exists to promote the role, rights and responsibilities of advertising and timeTo is about being clear about the behaviour standard expected of all people who work in advertising.

“This must happen to ensure our industry, which reflects and shapes the world around us, continues to be an economic and social force for good in the years ahead.”

Fair enough, but has the horse evacuated the stable already?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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