Cannes Lions: Agencies react to Scotus decision

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Friday morning, SCOTUS issued its most consequential decision in decades by overturning the landmark decision Roe v. Wade. The devastating blow not only shook the United States, but is being felt across the world – most notably at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

In May, court’s opinion, drafted by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico, leading several agencies as well as the WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA to issue statements supporting women’s rights to choose.

Now, the advertising world is reacting to the decision which eliminates the 1973 ruling which protects a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body.

Other agencies that responded to the ruling include Fig, The Martin Agency and Mekanism among others. 

According to Ad Age, Judith Carr-Rodriguez, partner and CEO of Fig, sent a statement to the agency that said, “I’m sure you all saw the news this morning that Roe vs. Wade has been overturned. This decision is a grave injustice. It will disproportionately affect low-income individuals and people of color and it sets back decades of progress for equality. The rights of women and all Americans are on the ballot this November. I will continue to protest, and I will be voting.”

Stagwell Chairman and CEO Mark Penn released a statement today in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade:

“We are singularly focused on supporting our people through this transition. While we cannot predict how abortion access will evolve in the coming months, or even years, Stagwell believes employees should have access to excellent health care, regardless of their location. We are taking immediate steps that will expand our network travel benefits to give employees access to the nearest approved reproductive healthcare provider in a legally permissible way,” said Penn. “We hope this travel benefit will provide employees located in states that have implemented new restrictions on reproductive rights with access to care.”

Weiden + Kennedy posted on Linkedin supporting women’s rights: “Wieden+Kennedy supports the right to reproductive freedom.  We will never stop working to create a safe place for one another. We cover abortion care at no cost to our employees, and will continue to do so. If an employee, their partner, or dependents live in a state where access to an abortion becomes restricted or banned, we will cover the travel expenses to a state where this is available, legal, and safe.”

Kristen Cavallo, CEO at The Martin Agency, also posted on LinkedIn. Cavallo said, “We are one company, made up of hundreds of people with a myriad of faiths and health histories and reasons to prevent, delay, start or expand a family. It is not my place to choose for you. It is my responsibility to offer healthcare support for whatever choice you make. And I believe when and if you become a parent is up to you.”

Ambika Pai, chief strategy officer at creative agency Mekanism, also took to LinkedIn saying she got the news while in a meeting. “In the middle of a meeting, sharing out huge strategy thinking, when I get a text about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Thinking of my friends who found out mid-pregnancy that their children had life-threatening genetic issues.”

Freelance creative David Sullivan didn’t mince words in his Linkedin post: “Thanks for protecting my daughters, Washington. And by thanks, I mean f*ck you.”

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Mischief President and Partner Kerry McKibbin told Ad Age, who questioned creatives in Cannes, that she is “Heartbroken by the decision. And enraged. Women will die because of this decision. The same Supreme Court that just said states can’t regulate guns has now also said that states can regulate women’s bodies.”

She added, “And [Supreme Court Justice] Clarence Thomas has written that the rulings that protect contraception, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage should also now be reconsidered. So, while I am heartbroken and enraged, we have to continue to fight. And I think, as advertisers and leaders, we should consider using every tool in our tool belt to oppose these changes. To protest. To protect our staff and their rights.”

As the decision sinks in we are sure more and more agencies and brands will respond.