How This Woman is Getting Top Companies to Hire More Female Directors
A few months ago, HP Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Antonio Lucio took a bold step to shake up the advertising and public relations industries by issuing a call to action for greater gender diversity. But, it’s not an effort any company can take on alone.
In order to be achieve this, it will require a movement to hold the attention of Madison Avenue and beyond. That’s why Lucio announced in November that HP is the first major corporate donor to famed director Alma Har’el’s “Free the Bid” initiative, which aims to help women directors advance in creative leadership roles for ad production and get more female directors behind the camera.
“I started #FreeTheBid so the ad industry could come together and take an affirmative step towards helping women,” said Har’el. “I couldn’t have been an independent filmmaker and make the films I love if I didn’t make a living directing commercials. I want to make sure other women filmmakers have the same chance to sustain themselves while being creative and shaping the way women are represented in advertising. With support from companies like HP and Visa, our efforts will continue to grow globally to help give women an opportunity. Let's give women a voice.”
In addition to HP, big-name brands and ad titans Visa, BBDO, Gyro, and Fred & Farid are also supporting Free the Bid. Not only are they lending their weight to raising awareness for the grassroots initiative, but their participation puts pressure on their peers in the industry to follow suit. In October HP signed the Free the Bid pledge, a promise to include at least one female director in every call for what’s known as a “triple bid” among creatives.
Thanks to #FreeTheBid, for the first time brands and agencies can find a source of more than 250 female directors from all leading production companies in one place. FreeTheBid.com also features new talent and unsigned female directors.
Giving Women A Voice
“We’re excited to implement this pledge globally, giving women a voice in advertising to the benefit of everyone, everywhere,” said Lucio. “Diversity is a business imperative, not just a moral one. We hope to inspire more brands and agencies to join us in this pledge and #FreeTheBid.”
Striving for diversity remains a business imperative across HP. Hiring more women into leadership roles at agencies and in the broader creative industry is key, in part because women buy about half of its computers and printers sold to consumers.
Lucio, for his part, continues to push for change at the company that challenges itself to “keep reinventing.” That reinvention effort doesn’t only apply to its products and services, but also to the social issues where it can make an impact.
“As one of the world’s iconic brands, we have enormous catalytic power to drive change and lead by example,” he said.