HP Inc. is advertising its commitment to reduce bias among its hiring managers with a new film created out of Fred & Farid that shows multiple black job candidates on interviews that conclude with the dreaded words, "We'll be in touch." The disappointment on their faces is palpable, and the scenes provide viewers a glimpse of the frustration and desperation those who experience discrimination during the job search may feel.
"When qualified for a job," text on the screen explains, "African-Americans are 3x more likely to experience a denial."
"It's intended to raise awareness around the ingrained biases that exist in the hiring process," said Lesley Slaton Brown, who was named HP's first chief diversity officer in 2015 after the company's split with business-focused counterpart Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. "It's meant to wake people up and get people talking about this," she said.
The technology industry is especially culpable, she added.
HP's minute-long spot, directed by NAN via The Devil You Know, will post across digital media including paid social. It's the first of several installments that will highlight similar issues as part of HP's "Reinvent Mindsets" campaign. Future spots will center on women and LGBT communities.
Antonio Lucio, HP's global chief marketing and communication officer, last summer took a stand on diversity when he asked HP's agencies to make strong pledges to include more women and minorities in their management positions. Now, agencies including Gyro, BBDO, Fred & Farid, FleishmanHillard and Porter Novelli have committed to quarterly check-ins about their progress with HP. Late last year, HP also donated $100,000 to Free the Bid, an initiative to increase the number of female directors in advertising.
This new effort continues HP's call to action. The creative group at Fred & Farid that came up with the new spot was multicultural and included an African American as creative director. Lucio said HP will have more to report by mid-summer, when it plans to showcase specific diversity numbers from its agencies.
"Diversity is a business imperative for us, in addition to a values issue," said Lucio. "We've said the time for talk is over and that we need to act now."
Read more about HP's hiring efforts on Adage.com.