- Procter & Gamble (P&G) announced several partnerships with media and advertising companies to advance gender equality in ad campaigns and support women in creative roles, the CPG announced at the Cannes Lions advertising festival this week and in a news release. P&G has also pledged to increase the number of female directors for its commercials from one in 10 to at least 50%, according to Bloomberg.
- The company is teaming up with the the Queen Collective, which is run by actress Queen Latifah and her production company Flavor Unit, to develop a pipeline of female directors and increase racial diversity behind the camera. P&G is also collaborating with Katie Couric Media to produce empowering content that reflects the brand's and journalists' shared values and commitment to important issues. A female-led team will produce and distribute stories across a variety of media channels.
- P&G is additionally pledging to include a female director on any triple-bid commercial project as part of the Free the Bid initiative. Publicis Groupe, P&G's biggest agency partner, is expanding the commitment to all of its agencies and networks. To further the initiative, P&G is partnering with Global Citizen to co-host the first #SheIsEqual Summit in September. The event will bring together governments, companies and advertising, media and entertainment influencers to share their perspectives on gender equality, women's economic empowerment, girl's education and advocacy through the lens of women's representation in the media, marketing, technology and entertainment.
The groundswell among marketers to embrace gender equality is growing as P&G, the largest company in the world by media spend, joins major brands like Unilever and Diageo in committing to more initiatives aimed at amplifying women's voices both in business operations and consumer-facing marketing. Unilever has said it will direct more of its startup investments to female-led businesses, with a goal of reaching gender parity by 2023. Alcoholic beverage maker Diageo earlier this year launched its own Free the Bid initiative urging ad agencies and content producers to include at least one female director as part of their creative bidding processes.
These efforts aim to set an example for the rest of the industry, and come at a time when many consumers are seeking out brands that take a stance on important issues, including gender representation. They also follow recent cultural movements centered on women's empowerment, such as #TimesUp and #MeToo. Millennial and Gen Z consumers, in particular, have a lower tolerance for brands that portray outdated gender roles in their messaging.
Major brands, including Home Depot and AB InBev, have found success marketing to women who have traditionally fallen outside of their top target demographics. P&G cited Association of National Advertisers data that show that gender-equal ads rank 10% higher in trust and 26% higher in sales growth.
By partnering with the ANA's #SeeHer initiative, along with the Queen Collective, P&G is looking to support women in creative and production roles, where they have also been underrepresented. The ANA found just 32% of CMOs are women, and 10% of commercial directors are women.