Southfield, Michigan — Procter & Gamble (P&G) is putting the advertising industry on notice. The world’s biggest advertiser wants women directors for at least half of its product commercials by 2023, up from about one in 10 today. It’s a direct challenge to the male-dominated agency world, from a client that spent more than $7bn on advertising last year. "Equality drives growth," said Marc Pritchard, the company’s chief brand officer. "If we just achieve equality in economic empowerment between women and men, it could add $28-trillion to world economy. That’s a lot of purchasing power." At the Cannes Lions advertising festival Monday, P&G is scheduled to announce a series of initiatives to support women in advertising and behind the camera. The company will sign on to the "Free The Bid" pledge, which requires at least one woman director to be included among the final candidates to produce commercials. "Free the Bid," a project by filmmaker Alma Har’el, who also produced an Olympics ...

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