HP Lends Financial Support to #FreeTheBid

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HP is taking its push for diversity a step farther. Today, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company plans to announce that it will be lending financial support to Free the Bid, an initiative launched earlier this year to increase more female directors in advertising.

HP will be donating $100,000 to the #FreeTheBid effort. The money will be used to fund FreeTheBid.com, a resource website launched by filmmaker Alma Ha'rel that includes the names of more than 250 female directors from prominent production firms. HP is joined in its support by companies including Visa, BBDO, Gyro and Fred & Farid.

"It is important that these initiatives be supported," said Antonio Lucio, a former Visa marketer who joined HP last year as chief marketing and communications officer. "This has to become a movement."

Mr. Lucio, the father of five girls, began his own quest for industry diversity earlier this year when he asked HP's agencies to commit to solid inclusion of women and minorities. A memo he sent over the summer asked agencies to deliver on plans for diversity within one year. HP's agencies, including Gyro, BBDO, Fred & Farid, FleishmanHillard, and Porter Novelli, are tasked with quarterly check-ins with Mr. Lucio to make sure they are gaining ground with such efforts. The first of such reviews is scheduled for early 2017.

"We're getting some traction," said Mr. Lucio. Marketers like Pepsi, Airbnb, General Mills, Verizon and Intel are also pushing for more industry diversity.

Earlier this week, HP debuted a new 60-second, female-produced creative spot called "Reinvent Giving," that tells how technology brings together two brothers, one of whom is deaf. The holiday commercial was created with AMV BBDO.