LONDON/SAN FRANCISCO: Cannes Lions and HP, the US tech firm, have launched a pilot mentoring programme aimed at building and strengthening diversity among creative talent in the advertising industry.

Called #MoreLikeMe, the initiative builds on HP’s marketing diversity scorecard, which exists to support HP’s roster of agencies to increase the number of women and people from ethnic minorities in creative and strategic roles.

HP originally called on its agencies to improve their diversity targets about two years ago and the #MoreLikeMe initiative is the latest instalment of HP’s mission to encourage change in the industry.

Under the mentorship programme, 15 racially and ethnically diverse “rising stars” from the UK, US and Mexico will be selected to attend the 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Once there, they will receive an “immersive experience, including mentoring, networking and curated programming” to be followed after the festival with a series of events and training sessions led by top industry executives to help them become “voices for change”.

“By partnering with our agencies to identify and elevate today’s diverse rising stars, we can continue to reinvent the creative industry to better reflect the communities we serve,” said Antonio Lucio, HP’s chief marketing and communications officer.

“We are on a mission to demonstrate that diversity is a business imperative – financially, creatively and culturally – and that all businesses in our industry can and must play a role in driving systemic change.”

According to HP, each of its roster agencies – BBDO, Edelman, Fred & Farid, Giant Spoon and PHD – will nominate candidates for the #MoreLikeMe programme.

Meanwhile, Tiffany R. Warren, president and founder of Adcolor and chief diversity officer at Omnicom, along with Mexican writer and film director Faride Schroeder, will serve as #MoreLikeMe’s ambassadors, providing counsel to agencies during the decision process and helping lead the programme at Cannes Lions.

“#MoreLikeMe complements our ongoing work to drive diversity and inclusion across the industry,” said Louise Benson, executive festival director at Cannes Lions. “We’re excited to be partnering with HP to support diverse talent in three of our key markets.”

Sourced from Cannes Lions, HP; additional content by WARC staff