Advertising Age reported that HP exposed the results of its diverted diversity dictates, where HP CMO Antonio Lucio challenged his White advertising agencies to hire and promote more White women—and maybe consider racial and ethnic minorities too. As expected, the White women numbers skyrocketed. Also as expected, the racial and ethnic figures sucked. Lucio presented the same tired excuses for his White shops’ inability to identify, recruit and retain minorities. But he also set new goals to address the matter in 2018. Lucio declared, “The game is not over.” Sadly, the game has been going on since at least the 1950s, with clients and White advertising agencies co-conspiring to maintain the exclusivity. HP’s patronizing stunt clearly shows that the game is far from over.
HP REVEALS RESULTS OF DIVERSITY CHALLENGE FOR ITS AGENCIES
By Adrianne Pasquarelli
Last year, HP was one of several marketers to push their agencies to include more women and people of color in senior leadership positions on the account, particularly in their creative departments. Today, HP Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Antonio Lucio shares the results of his call specific to action. Not all went according to plan.
The challenge: Last September, Lucio tasked HP’s global agencies—BBDO Worldwide, Fred & Farid, gyro, PHD and Edelman—with including more women and minorities in their ranks, specifically in senior and creative leadership roles. He set a goal of 56 percent women on account teams and 47 percent women in senior leadership roles. All agencies set their own goals for improved minority representation.
First, does HP walk the walk?: A year ago, the tech company, which recently posted a third-quarter net revenue increase of 10 percent to $13.1 billion, was 55 percent women, 43 percent of whom were managers or higher. When Lucio started in 2015, there were 20 percent in leadership roles. Overall, the marketing and communications department is composed of 63 percent women. Minorities represented some 26 percent of total employees in 2016, the most recent data available.
Now for the results.
The good: At HP’s agencies, women now represent 61 percent of the brand’s account teams—over 5 percent more than the goal. Women also now represent 51 percent of senior roles. When the challenge started, all brand account teams were less than 40 percent women overall, and many had 10 percent or even 0 percent women in leadership roles.
Regarding creative, BBDO’s creative leadership is 40 percent female and Fred & Farid’s is 55 percent female; neither agency had female creative leads on the account last year.
The not-so good: Three of the five agencies increased their minority representation, but even they failed to meet HP’s target of 60 percent. Last year, just under 20 percent of HP’s account teams were minorities; that figure has only risen to more than 25 percent today.
“As good as I feel on the progress with women, the progress on minority-represented groups was not as systemic as we wanted,” says Lucio.
New targets: Lucio has asked agencies to identify specific underrepresented groups by country and set new objectives and strategies for pursuing such ethnicities in 2018.
Part of the problem, Lucio says, is that the underrepresented groups are difficult to find through traditional means, such as recruiting firms. He’s encouraging agencies to pursue different ways of bringing new talent on board. In addition, HP is debuting a new diversity-focused talent search program, where minorities can network and share creative, with the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and sponsoring the 3% Conference and Free the Bid.
“The game is not over,” says Lucio.
You know what’s BS? Agencies that never, not once, made a public pledge to hire people of color, much less hired any, are now doing so for people with mental and developmental disabilities.
They’re setting exact numbers and aiming to hit precise milestones, while never lifting a finger to do the same for black or brown professionals.
And they’re introducing yet one more kind of diversity that’s more important that POC, and that’s “diversity of feeling.”
Diversity of Feeling.
Add it to the long laundry list of what’s more important to them, before sparing a crumb of attention for racial diversity.
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