Give female directors a voice

A new ‘Free The Bid‘ initiative is sweeping adland aimed at encouraging agencies to include female directors at the bidding stage for commercials.

Founded by director of the award-winning documentaries Bombay Beach and LoveTrue Alma Har’el, ‘Free The Bid’ wants to see a change at the pitch process for commercials.

Ad agencies traditionally present three directors per spot at the pitch stage and statistics show female directors are not included in that mix. The initiative hopes to make one bid out of every three a female director.

Alma Har’el

According to the release, this is based on the belief that because women are the number one consumer group and make 85 percent of product purchase decisions, they should therefore be the ones directing commercials.

It also believes cultural misrepresentations and stereotyping of women and girls are reinforced through the predominantly male narrative presented in the majority of commercials.

In creating the initiative, Har’el teamed up with CCO and co-founder of Pereira & O’Dell PJ Pereira, who describes ‘Free The Bid’ as a simple idea that would enforce the entire ecosystem to consider women directors.

“Because it’s right but also because it’s smart. A more diverse industry means a more creative one and a better representation of their customers and of society itself.”

The initiative has been launched with a website that will feature over 130 women directors leading production companies with links to their reels and producers. It will curate new unsigned directors on a monthly basis and keep track of the work that’s being done by women as a result of the initiative.

There will also be organised screenings for ad agencies that want to discover female directors and a system that will allow tracking of some of the numbers.

Several of the world’s leading advertising agencies have already pledged to ‘Free The Bid’ including FCB Global, DBB North America, BBDO Global, McCann NY, J. Walter Thompson, Leo Burnett, Pereira & O’Dell, Mother, Joan, Phenomenon and 180LA.

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