M&C Saatchi Catches Heat For Striptease Performance at Anniversary Party

Article by Richard Whitman /
MediaPost /
January 24, 2016 /
Click here to view original /

You would think that by now, every person on the planet would realize that in this day and age of insta-sharing and insta-outrage, having a stripper at your ad agency anniversary party might not be a very good idea. Alas, M&C Saatchi Australia couldn’t be bothered and did just that.

At the celebratory party late last week held at the Beresford Hotel in Sydney, CEO Jaimes Legget said: “It wouldn’t be a 21st, however, without a cake. Ladies and gentlemen, happy birthday.” And with that, a lady appeared from the cake, and reportedly, performed a striptease. Other strippers appeared as well dressing down from business attire to bondage-style underwear.

You can check out a video of the non-nude striptease here.

Despite a firestorm of critique, including a tweet from Cindy Gallop, who wrote: “WHATWHATWHATWHAT?” the agency defended the spectacle in a statement which read: “It was a celebration of 21 years of creativity and incredible work, amazing clients and great people. Creativity is our stock in trade and at M&C Saatchi, creativity comes in many forms.”

Of the party, Dr. Lauren Rosewarne, senior lecturer in the school of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne said: “If Mad Men taught us anything it’s that this is not a good idea. When you look at their output, one of the places sexism is most easily detected is in advertising. We keep saying now that women are moving up through the ranks of industry things should change but this party is a good example that things aren’t.”

And on how these sorts of spectacle are interpreted by the world at large, Rosewarne added, “Even if people are happy with this behavior they should be conscious about the optics of how it looks to the outside world and how it makes female employees feel in their business.”

Clearly, Trudeau’s “Because it’s 2015,” did not resonate with M&C Saatchi.

The agency has since issued a statement of apology which read, in part: “The consideration that a burlesque routine may not have been appropriate in this context was overlooked. This has been a strong reminder to be more diligent about ensuring these sensitivities are always at the forefront.”

Um, yeah. The apology went on to note, like the NRA ticking off all that’s good about supporting gun ownership gone wild, all the wonderful things the agency has done in the name of diversity including the fact that more than half of the agency’s hires in the last year have been female.

If you want to go to a party with strippers, the last remaining place to do so in relative safety is a strip club.