September 5, 2016
Business Insider reported on the letter from Lucio, which makes HP Inc the “latest brand to demand all its advertising agencies hire more women and people of colour”. His letter, titled A Challenge to Agency Leadership, was sent to “five advertising and PR agencies” last week, and demanded that all five “submit a plan within 30 days that outlines how they are going to increase the number of women and people of minorities they have in their top creative and strategy roles”.
Lucio and HP Inc did not demand a “specific quota”, but he told Wall Street Journal that he “expects agencies to have at least 50 percent female representation”, with HP Inc’s own marketing department of over 1,000 staff made up of a 50/50 male-female ratio, and 30 percent are people of colour. His ultimatum was that “failure to comply” within a year “could result in removal” from HP Inc’s roster of agencies, and followed similar overtures from US food manufacturer General Mills.
Surveys conducted by The 3% Conference, an event “that champions female leadership”, found that women make up 46.4 percent of the advertising industry, but only 11.5 percent of creative directors in those agencies are female. The entire advertising industry “has been rocked with a number of several diversity-related scandals over the last year” as well, including at agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, JWY and RAPP USA.
Lucio’s letter referred to “enthusiastic support” from the five agencies “without exception” in regards to his demand for increased diversity, and added that “at HP, our vision is to make technology that makes the world a better place for everyone, everywhere. But we recognise that we can’t realise our vision if our business leaders don’t represent everyone, in colour, gender, and geography.
“We take great pride that HP has the most diverse board of directors in the technology industry, and that we make diversity an explicit business goal. Yet I know we can do even more. I know we must do more. Including women and people of colour in key roles is not only a values issue, but a significant business imperative”.
It went on to note: “We are more likely to create solutions that amaze our customers if our workforce represents the communities we serve. As a global company, we need to take a broad view of diversity as increased representation will take different forms in different countries. We have decided to start by addressing women.”
This in part is down to the fact that 53 percent of computers and 45 percent of printers bought from HP Inc are bought by women, and the OEM has “invested in programmes” in the last 12 months to “ensure that at least half of our top marketing jobs are held by women”. The OEM’s “scorecard” for its advertising agencies is one that it already uses in its own marketing department, and he expected to receive “formal” plans from the agencies within 30 days.
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