Harvard’s Big Moves of the Month: March

Joe McNamara

31 Mar 2022

In this, the first edition of Harvard’s Big Moves of the Month, we look at what hit the headlines in March, developments in the marketing and PR industry, pick our favourite creative campaign, and ask one of the newest members of our team for her best piece of career advice.

Tech news: reality bites for Big Tech

It’s been a big month for governments attempting to rein in the influence of Big Tech. The Online Safety Bill has been introduced to the UK Parliament – prompting fierce debate around the issue of free speech versus digital privacy. Meanwhile, the EU had laid down its own gauntlet with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which could come into force as soon as October 2022. Alongside its sibling, the Digital Services Act, which concerns itself with digital privacy and data, the DMA is designed to open the closed shop digital marketplaces created by tech giants. As the FT’s Editorial Board put it in their analysis of the story: “Big Tech finally has commandments to abide by. Among them: thou shalt not bundle products, and thou shalt permit interoperability between different systems.”

Industry news: 2022 will regulate

Earlier this month, Russia Today lost its retransmission on Sky, Freesat and Freeview aligned with sanctions designed to quell the spread of misinformation by Vladimir Putin’s regime. As well as opening 27 investigations into the Russian news channel, Ofcom has also appointed a new chairman – former BBC chairman and Conservative peer – Lord Grade (Amol Rajan has got it covered on BBC News.) Staying with the BBC, broadcaster Andrew Marr, who can now be found on LBC’s airwaves every Monday evening, has been replaced by political editor Laura Kuenssberg. Finally, Instagram has announced that users will once again have the option of displaying their feeds chronologically, which is big news for content creators and brands, indicating that Instagram is keen to push more ads on its platform. Read Chris Sutcliffe’s account of what this means on The Drum.

Frontpage news: Tech stands with Ukraine

Tech has played its role in the complex web of confusion and destruction caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. The cyber war is in full flow, with activist group Anonymous launching a series of hacks against Russian platforms. Furthermore, as initial sanctions were imposed on Putin’s government, digital payments on Google Pay and Apple Pay were suspended for customers of Russian banks. While Google, Microsoft, YouTube, and Facebook blocked Russian apps and ads on their websites. At this stage, most tech companies have ceased operations in Russia altogether.

Creative moves: Men must change

Launched by the Mayor of London, Have A Word is a hard-hitting campaign encouraging men to confront aggressive behaviour towards women. Through a two-minute film, praised for its directness and clarity, the campaign demands that men take a stand against behaviour towards women which is threatening, violent, or controlling. In the word of Sadiq Khan “this is not just an issue with the minority of men who are violent, but also with those men who are sexist, who continue to behave inappropriately around women, who perpetuate a toxic form of masculinity or who just stand by silently when women feel threated or are being threatened. Men must change.”

Making your move with… Katie Brookes

“As part of the Strategy & Planning team – a “shared resource” across the agency – I technically work with all our clients here at Harvard. I’m a Junior Strategist and my role is to bring the outside world into the agency, developing the insights that form the basis of standout campaigns. As a linguist at heart, I love finding patterns, simplifying ideas, and understanding what makes people tick. Combine that with a desire to communicate effectively and influence others… and of course I ended up as a communications Strategist. For anyone pursuing a career in marketing or PR, my best piece of advice is to develop a powerful, authentic brand “you” – online and offline. It’s as much about marketing yourself. Promote your unique strengths, be consistent, prove that you’re here to stay. Always ask for feedback.”

Join us next month when we’ll be back with a new selection of Big Moves for April.