Diageo has joined in the 'Free the Bid' movement and called upon its ad agencies and content producers around the world to ensure they put forward at least one female director as part of any creative bid. With this, Diageo hopes to drive greater diversity within the bidding process as well as in the industry more broadly.
Diageo is looking to foster a more diverse and inclusive culture, both within the business as well as in the communities in which it operates. A statement from Diageo revealed that its executive committee is made up of 40 per cent women, and Diageo’s board will achieve gender parity in April 2018 when Ursula Burns takes up her position.
The 'Free the Bid' initiative was launched in 2016. It encourages gender parity within the advertising industry.
Further, the brand launched a U.S. limited edition of its Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch featuring a woman on the label, called Jane Walker. The launch in March comes as Diageo looks to attract more women drinkers. For every bottle of Jane Walker sold, Diageo will donate $1 to organisations supporting women’s causes.
Syl Saller, CMO, Johnnie Walker, said, “As advertisers we have the power to normalise gender equality by what we choose to show in our ads, and who we choose to produce them. The advertising industry is moving in the right direction to achieving greater gender diversity, but it must move quicker. I’m delighted to pledge to Free the Bid. Our support is consistent with Diageo’s belief that businesses that value diversity perform better. I’m so proud that our executive and board are gender balanced, it changes the conversation and sets a tone – making us hungry to see equality at every level of our business and with the partners we work with.”
Alma Har’el, founder, Free the Bid, added, “Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff and the many other brands under the Diageo umbrella have been leading the advertising world with some of the coolest advertisements out there for decades. With Diageo's pledge, we're thrilled about the incredible opportunities that will open up for women directors globally. Diageo and their creative agencies are about to discover the most untapped pool of creative talent in the ad industry - women directors. We look forward to seeing the results of this unprecedented collaboration. This is a big day for our Free The Bid family and all the women who are ready to be heard by a brand that is committed to actual change. Cheers!”
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Total entries are down 6% on 2019 - but there has been a surge in entries from indie agencies and production companies