Creative Teams Look for Ways to Ensure Diversity

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Marketers are beginning to look at what their teams look like inside ad agencies, with General Mills recently running a review that asked participating agencies to be sure teams were staffed with at least 50% women and 20% people of color within the creative department.

Alma Har'el

Now one female director, backed by several high-profile advertising and marketing names, has launched an idea to bake in diversity with "Free the Bid," an initiative calling for all agencies to include at least one female director every time it triple-bids a production for a client.

A recent examination of the rosters of production companies that made Ad Age and Creativity's Production Company A-List found that women comprised only 9.7% of the rostered directors at those shops.

Alma Har'el -- who has helmed spots for Airbnb and Stella Artois, and directed documentary films "Bombay Beach" and "LoveTrue" as well as music video "Fjogur Piano" for Sigur Ros, featuring a balletic Shia LeBeouf -- is behind the new program. It calls for brands to encourage their agencies to include female directors in the bidding process and asks production companies to add more women to their rosters.

The Free the Bid website will host the reels of 130 female directors -- those already signed to production companies and those without representation. It will track the work women do as a result of the initiative. Free the Bid will also organize agency screenings featuring female talent and put on events to showcase work done by those who are part of the platform.

Free the Bid is backed by top execs including Make LoveNotPorn/IfWeRantheWorld founder Cindy Gallop, Kat Gordon of the 3% Conference, BBDO's Global CCO David Lubars, Joan founders Lisa Clunie and Jaime Robinson, director Spike Jonze and Coca-Cola VP Rodolfo Echeverria.

FCB's Global CCO Susan Credle and CEO Carter Murray, McCann Global Creative Chairman Rob Reilly, Nestle Waters North America Chairman Tim Brown, Ebay CMO Suzy Deering, JWT Global CCO Matt Eastwood, DDB Chief Production Officer Diane Jackson, Leo Burnett CCO Britt Nolan and 180 L.A.'s head of integrated production, Natasha Wellesley, are supporters.

Also on board are Mother's Mr. Waites and Ms. Markova, Phenomenon CEO Krish Menon, Nikki Weiss & Co. founder Nikki Weiss and production companies B-Reel, M ss ng p eces, Epoch Films, Little Minx, Great Guns and Tool, which reps Ms. Har'el in the U.S.

If you are looking for a creative agency partner that cares about diversity and bringing multiple points of view to a project, turn to LookBook to start your search.

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