Lucy Bowles, PHD UK AV Buyer and Get Me Canned competition winner, writes about Madonna Badger’s inspirational seminar on the objectification of women in advertising:

I know how cliché this is going to sound, but I have been genuinely touched by one of my experiences yesterday in Cannes.

I rolled up to a talk labelled “Sex, Lies and Advertising” by a lady named Madonna Badger at 11am, bottle of Ice Tea in hand. My mind instantly jumped to assume it would be a relatively tongue-in-cheek session (given the title) following the usual panel-type set-up, however a single female entered the stage and began to tell the audience about what has shaped her as a person and ultimately driven her to where she currently stands in today’s ad industry.

Honestly, I didn’t quite see where the presentation was heading at first whilst Madonna told us about her family, her husband, divorcing her husband, buying a house etc. etc., until she shared with us one of the most tragic things anyone could possibly imagine – the house burning down and taking all of her loved ones with it. Madonna told us of her life changing forever and that she had a choice; to live life for her children and parents, who she had lost in the tragic event, or to try and find herself a purpose whereby she could influence and change something for the better – it just so happened that this purpose turned out to be leading the industry away from objectifying women in advertising.

Although Madonna admitted to having been guilty of it in the past, when working on large beauty brands, she continued on to show us a collection of videos which rang true to the fact that “sex sells sex, sex does not sell a brand” and backed this up with stats from studies which suggested that objectifying women within ads has a detrimental effect. The most hard hitting of the videos, in my opinion, was this:

An emotional start to day one!!