Successful Gisler Summit, satisfied president

On Thursday, members of Gislerprotokoll and guests met for the first big Gisler Summit. The topic was the many facets of advertising. m&k captured voices from the audience as well as a summary from Nina Bieli, President of the Gislerprotokoll association. There were also exciting insights from the advertising client association SWA and from the customer side.

Nina Bieli, President of the Gislerprotokoll Association and Chief People & Culture Officer at Jung von Matt.

On March 8, 2021, the Gisler Protocol was launched. Nina Bieli and Annette Häcki, the initiators of the initiative, wanted to campaign for more diversity in advertising and hoped that agencies would join them. Together, they wanted to commit to the charter of dealing with the representation of a colorful society in advertising in a sensitive and diverse manner, both internally and externally. Almost two years later, the Gisler Protocol is an association with 126 member agencies, a president and eight board members. These agencies commit to five pointsThe focus is on inclusive language, multifaceted role models, and sensitizing customers to the topic. In concrete terms, they are working to ensure that communication in Switzerland is less stereotypical and more multifaceted.

The first Gisler summit is well received

On Thursday, the first Gisler Summit took place. The Tanzwerk as the venue provided a good backdrop for the numerous audience consisting of members, board members, the president Nina Bieli, guests and the invited speakers Anna Rosenwasser, Nora Keller, Peter Schneider and a representative of the Equal Voice initiative of Ringier. In her welcoming speech, Bieli put the spotlight on the development of the association, then presented the following the second round of stereotype analysiswhich shows that although clichés still dominate, something is happening in the diversity of role models.

Then Anna Rosenwasser, LGBTQ activist, book author and political influencer gave deep insights into Switzerland's supposed tolerance of queer people. Conclusion "We are not modern, we are rich".

Anna Rosenwasser, LGBTQ activist, book author and political influencer.

In her keynote speech, Nora Keller from the University of St. Gallen impressively demonstrated, supported by statistics, that fatherhood and career are not easy to reconcile. She proved that fathers are not happy with the role of the provider. They wanted equality. While the terms "deadbeat dad" and "working dad" do not exist in the vernacular, she said, it is still not made easy for fathers in our society to go part-time, and companies are often not accommodating. The gap between the desire and the reality is wide, but some industries are further along, such as the pharmaceutical industry.

Nora Keller from the University of St. Gallen.

Peter Schneider, psychoanalyst, book author and also known as the voice of detective Philipp Maloney, shared his thoughts on the topic "Trans, the struggle for gender". He started by saying "I prepared a lecture, but spontaneously decided to just share some thoughts with them". It was not always easy to follow the jumps of thoughts, but due to his humorous and accentuated way of speaking, he could count on the attention of the audience. One or the other would certainly have liked to hear his actual lecture.

Peter Schneider, psychoanalyst and book author.

Finally, Karen Schärer explained the EqualVoice initiative, the initiative founded by the publishing house Ringier for more visibility of women in the media. Then people met for an apero and networking.

Nina Bieli (left) interviewed Karen Schärer of Equal Voice.

Conclusion by Nina Bieli

m&k asked Nina Bieli after the event how she felt about the Gisler Summit.

m&k Nina Bieli, how satisfied are you with the Gisler Summit?

Nina Bieli: I am very satisfied and happy! I am extremely pleased that so many people came, that we had such exciting input, that there was a wonderful atmosphere in general, and that we as a board were able to put something like this together.


Who and what particularly impressed you? 

I thought the contributions by Anna Rosenwasser and Nora Keller were great - they illuminated very different aspects of representation and were therefore great stimuli for the discussion of the topic. And the fact that we had a sister organization, EqualVoice, on stage, so to speak, was also very fitting.


What did the members of the Gisler Protocol say at the apero?

I have received positive feedback throughout - of course the greatest success for us. The Gisler Summit was financed with members' contributions and it was therefore very important to me that we were able to give something back to our members. And hopefully inspire all those present.

What members say about the Gisler Summit

m&k asked selected members and guests at the event three questions: What impressed them most, what was missing, how they perceive the implementation in practice, and how to find the right tone.

Rebecca Knobel, Bühler & Bühler

"How much the Gisler Protocol has achieved in such a short time is remarkable and proves how important the cause is. At the next summit, it would be nice to see the support of male-readers also in the audience.

Statements such as "We have always done it that way" are not malicious, but we do not let them pass. Within the Gisler Protocol working groups, we also like to exchange arguments and methods that help in dealing with the clientele. The right tone is found by listening, informing, implementing and admitting mistakes.

Susann Vogel, Swissfilm Association

"What impressed me most was the versatility of the speakers - a writer, a political scientist, a psychoanalyst and a journalist - great! What I missed was something down-to-earth, tangible, someone who is directly affected without being a writer. A 'normal citizen', so to speak. I would have been very interested in these experiences, since you almost always only see them 'lurid' in the media."

Uwe Schlupp, Krieg Schlupp Partner

"The diversity of the speakers and the presentations did justice to the multifaceted topic. For us in practice, there is still the problem that everyone in the team, for example, likes our linguistic guidelines, but few actually implement them. But the progressive employees are slowly pulling the others along. At the moment, we mainly want to signal that we are aware of the issue. Perfection does not yet play such a big role. But through ongoing training, we want to develop from 'well-intentioned' to 'really good'."

Matthias Kiess finds himself in a dual role here: he is CEO of TBWA\Zurich and a board member of the Gisler Protocol Association. m&k also asked him about the GG and the state of affairs from the agency's point of view.

m&k Werbewoche: Matthias Kiess, how did you feel about the Gisler Summit?

Matthias Kiess: I was very taken with the first official edition of the Gisler Summit. The interest was considerable and the choice of speakers diverse, which for me brought just the right tonality. An aspiration for change, but without being one-sided and dogmatic.


What impressed you the most?

I was particularly pleased to see that not only women were in the audience, but that men were also quite well represented with almost a third. So you can see that the willingness to engage in debate is there, and so is the will to change.


From your perspective as TBWA CEO: What does practice look like? Does the implementation of the sensitization measures meet with a response from the companies? Or are the majority of them reluctant?

I think, as the stereotype analysis has also shown, that there is still a need for action, but that it is impossible to imagine storytelling without serving certain patterns. There is a shifting of boundaries, but humor, for example, which often has its origins in gender characteristics, will not simply be erased. Nevertheless, we can clearly say that companies are not only sensitized, but even demand the appropriate attention in conception and implementation. We are on the right track here.


My impression was that the topic of diversity is causing uncertainty. How should one speak, what is possible, what is not? Do I make discriminatory comments without knowing it, even though I mean well? How do you feel about this in your daily dealings at the agency, but especially with customers?

Anna Rosenwasser has correctly formulated that diversity arises within a community and that an individual should not be classified or even categorized as "diverse". Diversity goes far beyond sexuality or gender. It means that ultimately we should take up the mirror of our society and give minorities a voice as well. This has to do with acceptance and tolerance. This applies to all of us - whether internally or externally. I believe that we need to approach it with a healthy dose of respect, reason and pragmatism without becoming too extreme. As is so often the case in life, we are currently in a process of change in which we have to approach each other and we all have to learn to deal with the new customs. Here, too, I plead for tolerance.


I liked the comment from the audience, agencies and companies should have queer people in the team, then dealing with the topic would be easier and the ice would not be so slippery. How do you feel about that ?

In my opinion, this is a tricky terrain when sweeping generalizations are simply made. Queer people are also diverse and have their own views and talents. So we still need to prioritize the suitability for a role for which we hire certain people. Today, queer people can be found in all progressive companies, and we are no exception. But a serious discussion goes beyond that and requires a deeper engagement with this group and an exchange with specialists.


Is advertising on the right track regarding DEI?

Well, as I said, what is right and what is wrong? Nina Bieli has shown on the basis of the stereotype analysis: much has also happened in 2022 in the positive, but the common stereotypes are still used too often. But there is neither black nor white - we are moving in gray areas and the gray is becoming increasingly lighter, which makes me confident. But there is still a long way to go before we can say that advertising is not only diverse, but also shows itself to be diverse.

m&k Werbewoche also sought the views of clients and asked Roland Ehrler, Director of the Swiss Advertising Clients Association (SWA), about the progress of multi-faceted advertising in Switzerland.

m&k Roland Ehrler, 126 agencies are now members of the Gisler Protocol and are thus committed to dealing sensitively with the issues of diversity, gender equality and breaking down stereotypes. What is the view of this sensitization from the advertising client side?

Roland Ehrler: I am sure that the advertising companies are aware of how important the DEI issues of diversity, equity and inclusion are today. Right now, this is what the global "The Global DEI Census 2023 Study of our advertiser umbrella association WFA in the field. The SWA supports and promotes this study in Switzerland. So this just shows very concretely how serious the advertising companies are, and we are already looking forward to the results.


Where does Switzerland stand on the issue of diversity in advertising?

As a country in the middle of Europe, we have a somewhat different advertising history than perhaps Africa or America. However, women's suffrage came somewhat late in our country, and that is probably one reason why the discussion about stereotypes in advertising began later here. The study mentioned above will show us exactly where we stand in Switzerland. However, it does not deal with the design of advertising. In my view, we have made some progress in this area in recent years. For example, print ads today show men and women shopping, or both genders appear in the commercial as well. However, advertising still has to "sell" something and achieve a return on investment. When people are shown, the creation then often helps itself with the representation of the intended target group. Unless we do it like Denner and show the shoppers' dogs. That can be very sympathetic!


Are the clients interested in joining the association?

The Gisler Protocol was founded by agency representatives, and that's a good thing. Especially because agencies have their finger on the pulse of advertising design, they have a lot of leverage. Whether advertising companies want to join the Gisler Protocol is something they have to decide for themselves. For me, it is almost more important that their agencies are involved and think about this topic early on in the creation process.

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