WACL partners with Spotify program ‘Outside Voice’ for 100th anniversary  


WACL, the body working to accelerate gender equality in the advertising and communications industry, has partnered with Spotify‘s ‘Outside Voice’ program – an annotated playlist series celebrating and amplifying BIPOC voices in the global creative community – to launch four new annotated playlists created by some of WACL’s most accomplished members.

Spotify ‘Outside Voice’

‘Outside Voice’ is a platform to tell personal stories, discuss creative passions and speak to the challenges creatives have navigated along the way.

Each month, spokespeople from the industry create original playlists that feature their favourite music alongside spoken-word annotations.

Starting today, four WACL member-curated ‘Outside Voice’ playlists are now available, with a selection of tracks and personal observations about their experience working in the creative industries and the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion.

The new series includes annotated playlists from: Rania Robinson – WACL President, CEO & Partner of the Quiet Storm agency, and co-founder of the UK’s Create Not Hate initiative designed to get youth from underrepresented communities involved in advertising, Carol Reay – WACL President 1995/6, Karen Blackett OBE – President of WPP in the UK and Nishma Robb – Senior Director of Marketing at Google, WACL Vice President and next President.

The WACL and Spotify ‘Outside Voice’ collaboration will continue at Cannes Lions 2023, where Rania Robinson will represent both WACL and Outside Voice during the Sound of Culture masterclass session being held at Spotify Beach on Wednesday, June 21.

“For this latest Outside Voice series, we’re passing the mic to some incredible female leaders and WACL members who tell their stories with the power of audio, through original playlists featuring their favourite music alongside their own words”, said Tye Comer, Senior Creative at Spotify.

“I’m thrilled to be partnering with WACL for this new series as we celebrate its 100th anniversary, and to continue the conversation around this important work at Cannes Lions this year at our Spotify Beach.”

Commenting on the initiative, Robinson said: “Music has always fuelled creatives, creative thinking and creative ideas. More importantly, it’s also a powerful way to evoke emotions, build memories and connect.

“All of which makes WACL partnering with Spotify for ‘Outside Voice’ – a platform that’s all about amplifying underrepresented communities – such a great fit.”

Commenting on her playlist, Robinson said that it’s not just numbers, but women’s power, that counts: “I think sometimes we over-congratulate ourselves on progress made so far,” she said, explaining the thinking behind WACL’s centenary campaign for women being 50% of CEOs.

“WACL wants women in positions where there’s strong strategic influence,” Robinson adds. “And often that’s not the case when you really unpick the demographics of the C-suite, and even more so from an intersectional lens.”

She also champions Outside Voices.

“The most positive thing about being an outside voice is that you bring something different and new and fresh. And in an industry where it’s so hard to differentiate through your communications … it’s important to bring a fresh perspective,” Robinson added.

Carol Reay, discussing her playlist, highlighted representation and the importance of diversity behind the scenes to effect it: “I’m a complete believer that the people you have behind the scenes affects the people you see on the screens”.

“The more you have a diverse range of people making adverts, the more you’re going to see a diverse range of people in adverts.”

Commenting on her playlist, Karen Blackett, countered any suggestion outsiders should fear standing out: “Don’t worry about not blending in. Be proud that you can bring a different ingredient to something which can make something better. [And] find other outside voices to make sure that you’re not always on your own,” she says.

“Diversity isn’t a problem to fix. It’s a solution for growth.”

Nishma Robb, discussing her playlist, shared her optimism: “I have so much hope for the next generation. it’s our job to kick down the doors and make space for them”.