Last September, HP Marketing Director Antonio Lucio sent a memo to the five partners of HP's advertising and marketing agency to request a commitment to "radically improve the percentage of women and people of color in positions Of leadership "in their organizations. In April, it launched an ad vowing to combat bias among its hiring managers. Now, almost a year into the momentum of diversity, Lucio tells Ad Age that HP is already seeing real results - both internally and from the agencies of HP Gyro, BBDO, Fred & Farid, Edelman and Porter Novelli.
In a quick discussion at Cannes, Lucio reiterated his commitment to diversity and referred to things to come.
Explain how it went.
Better than I expected. In October we invited our agency partners to participate. We allowed them to set their own goals, understanding that they had to show a significant improvement in the number of women working in our account, with specific emphasis on strategy and creative services.
Women and people of color.
And they themselves were going to set those goals?
That was the only way they were going to compromise. I thought that was a very important point. I have been doing marketing for a long time. It's stronger when I can convince you that you set your own goal because it's your goal. You are committed to surrendering it rather than imposing it on you.
Were there any targets that were not good enough for you?
None at all. I was excited about the level of enthusiasm. I just met with CEOs. They put some very interesting stretching goals. And in the last two quarters, we met once again on his score card.
Can you share some details?
For October we will give you all the numbers. What I can tell you now is that in our lead agencies, the number of women who run the account has grown. The number of women working in the creative department working on our account has grown where they almost did not exist. And in the media agency, the number of strategic resources that direct our account, which in the media is the most important role, has also increased significantly. Our plan is that in October, for the first anniversary of our convocation, we will sit down with all the agencies and we will make a white paper on the good, the bad, the ugly and the extraordinary.
Any clues as to what might be there?
The only clue I can give is that it's working.
We have heard from some agencies, outside the file, that they stand on this type of mandate. They say it's unfair, which is a kind of reverse discrimination.
I will tell you that one of the CEOs told me that if their top 10 customers had done so, the industry would be transforming at a faster rate. What we are asking for is not arbitrary.
Talk about the internal adjustments you made to your own equipment.
When I looked at my team - like many marketing departments - of the total population, about 60 percent are women. When you take a notch higher - to the managers - that number goes from 66 to 53 percent. From there to the leadership team, the top ten of my global team, there were only two. So over a period of 12 months, we work through movements - changes, logical evolution of the structure, if you will - to reach a balanced 50/50. We had to do that first because without the force of the argument, I could not have gone to the agencies.
You have to walk the walk.
I think changes have to be structural. Clients have to change, agencies have to change and production houses have to change as well. The number of heads of creativity in agencies is in the range of 20%, the number of women running commercials is less than 10.
When do we begin to see this reflected in the work, then?
Out of the work we just posted, for example, the mother-daughter movie, which was a female creative director who was not involved in our account before we started this. As for the most important things, our biggest introduction of products on the computer side, which is ink, the director came from Free the Bid and directed five spots that are going to see globally [as of this week] . That had never happened before. So let's see this over and over and over. We tested everything, and how those five points in the proven premium line were some of the highest scores we've seen.