#FreeTheBid got a major boost as HP announced it was donating $100,000 to the effort to include at least one female director on triple bids.
The money will be used to support the FreeTheBid.com website. The Bay Area tech giant was the first company to put forth a significant amount of money to filmmaker Alma Har’el’s budding effort to include more female directors in advertising.
Har’el launched #FreeTheBid several months ago and it automatically made positive waves throughout the industry. Har’el was given the Female Three Cheers Award at the 3% Conference earlier this month for making the biggest change in gender equality in advertising.
Fittingly, the 3% conference awarded HP CMO Antonio Lucio as the male who contributed most to gender equality.
Other companies and agencies have contributed money to the movement, including Visa, BBDO, Gyro and Fred & Farid, and according to a story in Campaign, Airbnb is expected to make a monetary pledge soon. So far, 47 companies and agencies have signed the pledge.
"It is important that these initiatives be supported," said HP’s Lucio in a story in Advertising Age. "This has to become a movement.”
Lucio is father to five girls and has been pushing HP to be more inclusive of women and minorities. He even sent a memo earlier this year asking agencies to deliver on plans to widen diversity within a year.
"We're excited to implement this pledge globally, giving women a voice in advertising to the benefit of everyone, everywhere," said Lucio in the Campaign article. "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."
Other companies, including Pepsi, General Mills and Intel are also making diversity a charge in the industry.
Any money given to #FreeTheBid will also help the movement hire a full-time staffer, since Har’el and a friend are currently the only ones managing the website and said that they cannot keep up with the hundreds of daily emails. Har’el has stated that she also wants to start a board of directors with members made up of #FreeTheBid pledged agencies. The board will examine case studies that will support their cause.
"We intend to continue growing as the No. 1 source for ad agencies and brands to discover female directors," said Har’el, whose work includes commercials for Stella Artois, Facebook and Airbnb. "The more women are given a voice and an opportunity in advertising, the faster we can change how women are represented and turn them from an object to a subject.