#CannesYouFeelIt – Caitlin Moran & Keith Weed On Social Media, Paywalls & Diversity

Caitlin Moran discussed the challenges facing publishers and journalists alike today during an insightful discussion with Johnny Hornby, founder of The & Partnership, at Cannes Lions.

Today also saw Unilever CMO Keith Weed take the stage for his ‘Future of Brands’ keynote, in which he addressed the power of influencers and Unilever’s new commitment to remove stereotypes from its brand marketing.

In her interview, Moran discussed the challenges facing women across the tech industry, highlighting the importance of teaching young girls to code.

“The more brains we have involved in solving the world’s problems, the quicker we’ll have the solutions,” she said.

Moran also criticised the nature of modern social media, suggesting it was like a baby, ‘young and untrained’.

She specifically called out Twitter and the male-dominated tech scene from which it came, saying, “We’re only creating a world around a male mindset. If women were creating a social media platform, it would be very different – it would be much more discursive.”

She also touched on the issues surrounding using social media as a journalist, and the perils of a world with ‘infinite voices’.

Moran discussed The Times’ paywall method, comparing her situation with colleagues at The Guardian who had been let go.

“We became very happy about the paywall, which we thought of as the mortgage wall,” she said.

Moran was not the only voice talking about diversity at Cannes Lions today. During his keynote speech, Weed unveiled research showing that 40% of women do not identify with the women they see in adverts.

His talk centred around removing gendered stereotypes from Unilever’s advertising, shifting the focus to empowerment and highlighting the astronomical branding power of influencers.

His keynote speech was backed up by a statement sent out to Unilever’s agencies and the press which revealed its new #UnStereotype initiative – a company-wide movement away from using stereotypical images in its brand marketing.

“The time is right for us as an industry to challenge and change how we portray gender in our advertising,” he said.

“Our industry spends billions of dollars annually shaping perceptions and we have a responsibility to use this power in a positive manner.”