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P&G Takes Pledge to #FreeTheBid, Promote Gender Equality in Media, Advertising

Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G, discussed gender equality on a panel at the 2018 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity alongside musician MILCK and HP Inc. CMO Antonio J. Lucio (not pictured). | Image credit: Ann Rosenberg/Twitter

Procter & Gamble (P&G), the world’s largest advertiser, advanced its commitment to gender equality through a series of new actions and partnerships announced at the 2018 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. P&G has called for an aspiration to achieve 100 percent accurate and positive portrayals of women in advertising and media, supported by equal representation of women and men in the creative supply chain including through the Free The Bid pledge.

Free The Bid is a non-profit initiative advocating on behalf of women directors for equal opportunities to bid on commercial jobs in the advertising industry. The initiative has made it easier for companies such as CVS Health to find and hire a female director.

P&G has not only taken the initiative’s pledge to include a woman director on any triple-bid commercial project, but will also help expand it worldwide over the next three years with a goal to double Free The Bid’s number of directors and expand to 20 countries, in partnership with HP Inc. and Publicis Groupe. Publicis Groupe is P&G’s largest agency partner and expanded its pledge to cover all of their agencies and networks worldwide.

“P&G is proud to partner with HP Inc. and Publicis Groupe to accelerate the expansion of Free The Bid,” said Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G. “By identifying more talented women directors in more countries around the world, we will help level the playing field and create momentum for achieving equality in the director chair. An equal creative pipeline is needed to ensure accurate and positive portrayals of women and girls in creative output and advertising that reflects our diverse world.”

Along with committing to the Free The Bid pledge, P&G has announced additional partnerships with industry leaders driving equal representation and positive portrayals of women in media: The Queen Collective; Katie Couric Media; and the #SheIsEqual Summit.

The Queen Collective, an initiative launched by Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Queen Latifah, aim to accelerate gender and racial equality behind the camera by creating distribution for films produced by diverse female directors. The Queen Collective will fuel the pipeline of women directors through its partnerships with P&G, HP Inc., Smirnoff and several media and advertising agencies.

“I have been in the entertainment industry for decades, and I know that portraying women — and especially women of color — in a truthful way requires a diverse team both in front of and behind the camera. When we have women from diverse backgrounds behind the camera, we tell stories with sharper insights and more honesty that resonate more deeply with people,” said Queen Latifah.

Katie Couric Media is the latest undertaking of the eponymous award-winning journalist, which will partner sponsors with distribution platforms to create smart, thoughtful, empowering content. Inspired by her involvement on the advisory board of #SeeHer, an initiative of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Couric’s female-driven team will produce and distribute stories in a variety of formats to reflect brands’ values and commitments to important issues.

The first #SheIsEqual Summit, taking place on September 28, 2018 in New York during the UN General Assembly week, will be co-hosted by P&G and Global Citizen. The event will bring together governments, private sector companies, and influencers from advertising, media and entertainment to share perspectives on gender equality, women’s economic empowerment, girls’ education and advocacy through the lens of representation of women in the media, marketing, technology and entertainment.

“Gender equality is good for society and business,” Pritchard said. “Some of P&G’s best performing brands have the most gender-equal campaignsAlways Like a Girl, SKII Change Destiny, Olay Live Fearlessly … as well as Tide, Ariel, Dawn and Swiffer which show men sharing the load in household chores. It’s clear that promoting gender equality is not only a force for good, it’s a force for growth.” See Pritchard's recent main stage presentation at SB'18 Vancouver, where he detailed P&G's journey toward embedding social and environmental purpose into the heart of its brands:

Recognizing the importance of full industry participation, P&G is working with the ANA’s #SeeHer movement and other industry initiatives, including the UN Women Unstereotype Alliance, to invite other advertisers, agencies and content developers to drive change across the commercial ecosystem. The ANA #SeeHer initiative will also participate in the #SheIsEqual Summit by creating sessions that discuss the role media plays in society and the importance of accurate representation of women and girls in entertainment.

“As the world’s greatest creative minds gather to celebrate creativity, we are committed to do our part with meaningful actions to advance gender equality in advertising, media and the creative pipeline in the next five years,” Pritchard said. “We also know no company can do it alone, so we hope to inspire others to be agents of change to accelerate momentum.”


Launched in 2006, Sustainable Brands has become a global learning, collaboration, and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing, innovation and sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future. We recognize that brands today have… [Read more about Sustainable Brands]


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