The world’s biggest advertiser, Procter & Gamble Co. is placing the advertising sector on notice. By 2023, the company wants women directors for up to half of its product commercials which will a significant increase from about one in ten today. The announcement is a challenge to the agency that is male-dominated.
The company’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard says that the significant drive towards growth is equality and the achievement of equality in economic empowerment could add $28 trillion to world economy which is a high purchasing power.
During the Cannes Lions advertising festival, P & G is expected to announce several initiatives that aim at supporting women in the advertising industry and those behind the camera. The company will also sign “Free The Bid” initiative which requires the inclusion of at least one female director among the final candidates when producing commercials.
“Free the Bid” is an initiative by Alma Har’el, a filmmaker who has also produced an Olympics anti-bias commercial for the advertising company. P & G asserts that it will collaborate with other renowned advertisers as well as with its biggest ad agency, PublicisGroupe SA to ensure that they double the reach of the program. P & G is also trying to bridge its gender gap particularly at the level of the brand director where women hold only forty-one percent of the positions.
P & G also aims at encouraging women directors and is therefore scheduled to announce a partnership with Queen Latifah’s Queen Collective as well as other advertisers such as HP and Smirnoff where they will create two films each running for twelve minutes and produced by women. The movie will then be promoted by Tide, Olay, Head & Shoulders and other brands of P & G.
The advertising company has also collaborated with Katie Couric to show support for her new media company which she argues will create content that depicts women and other groups that are under-represented more accurately. In an interview, Coric said that there is a dramatic change in the landscape as more companies embrace equality.
The empowerment of women has become a significant issue in P & G’s marketing across the globe. For instance, the Firm’s Whisper brand handled India’s menstruation taboos while the SK-II brand of skincare addressed the pressure to marry faced by women in China and the stigma that comes when they don’t. The company also had a “Generation of firsts” campaign in Saudi Arabia for Always products with the intention of celebrating new freedoms enjoyed by women. The company says that it is difficult to measure the direct impact of advertising but the approach it has used has worked so far.