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Diageo joins gender equality ad campaign

Smirnoff maker Diageo has joined the Free the Bid campaign, which aims to promote equal opportunities for women working in advertising.

Free the Bid encourages production companies to hire more female directors

The Johnnie Walker owner is calling for its advertising agencies to put forward at least one female director as part of any creative bid as it hopes to drive diversity in the advertising industry.

Syl Saller, chief marketing officer at Diageo, 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.”

Free The Bid is a non-profit initiative that strives for equal opportunities for women directors. It encourages agencies to include a woman director on every advertising bid and production companies to sign more woman directors.

Alma Har’el, founder of Free the Bid, said: “Johnnie Walker, 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.”

The drinks industry has been increasingly looking to boost equality across the board, with campaigns such as Bacardi’s Spirit Forward series, which looks to empower women in leadership roles.

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