Arts & Design

What happens when you push for creative diversity? Behold, HP’s two powerful holiday campaigns

Discover the women behind the stories of “Wonder” and “Togetherness”

By Michelle Martin — December 15, 2017

“It’s time for a fresh perspective. We need to make room for the other half—and not just the clichés, not just the saints and geniuses. Flawed, complex women are telling meaningful, resonant stories that take our breath away, challenge us, inspire us,” says Lisa Rubisch of Park Pictures, director “Togetherness,” of one of HP’s new holiday campaigns.

A little over a year ago, HP announced a quest with its creative agencies to transform the advertising industry. The company challenged partners to significantly increase the number of women and minorities in top creative and strategic roles on its accounts. The captivating outcome of that initiative is available for all to see in two new HP holiday campaigns.

A long-form video, “Togetherness”, thoughtfully captures a holiday dynamic many of us recognize—a tense family dinner where loved ones with vastly different political opinions are gathering. Drawing on her own experiences, Rubisch crafted a story of two sisters who care deeply for one another, but find old rifts and new debates creating a sharp divide between them. A teen girl—daughter of one and niece to the other—reminds them of their longtime history and unbreakable bonds by using the power of printed photos (thanks to a handy HP Sprocket).

Adam Groves, Park Pictures creative director, recalls “When we were making the film, everyone in the cast and on the crew kept telling us how much they could relate to the story. That's how we knew we had something special. It's honest and real, which makes it stand out amongst a lot of the films you see from brands this time of year.” 


Gifting wonder

Togetherness” builds on momentum from “Wonder” which launched in November. It tugs on heartstrings as a creative young woman treats a lonely little neighbor to a special surprise (powered, in part, by a new HP laptop). It was created by BBDO San Francisco and directed by Sara Dunlop (whose work includes the award-winning short film, "Dreamlands"). Dunlop was selected through the Free the Bid initiative, the industry-wide effort, launched in September 2016, that aims to level the playing field for female directors. BBDO and HP are among those who have given the Free to Bid "pledge" to include a female director on every triple-bid project, among other things. 


 “The film centers on the universal appeal and impact of wonder,” says Dunlop. “We wanted to tell an emotional story of people using HP technology to give and share the gift of wonder with each other.”

Amanda Moody, Executive Producer/BBDO-SF, says, “I met Sara Dunlop and her production partners, Producer Polly Ruskin and Production Coordinator Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Lodder, for a quick dinner in Budapest just before filming began. I realized that every key professional at the table was a woman, save one. And it struck me, wow! How things have changed in the last decade or so. I have long been accustomed to working with and around women-in-charge on the agency side. However, over the course of a substantial career, I have observed that production company principals tend to be men. Particularly directors.

“Observing director Sara Dunlop at work, her tremendous confidence, insightfulness, warmth, sophistication and grace, filled me with a surprising thrill of pride,” she adds.

Pushing forward in 2018

HP’s effort to diversify the creative talent pool made significant progress in 2017: Today, 61 percent of people working on the company’s accounts and 51 percent of people in senior leadership roles are female. Work remains in increasing representation among U.S. minorities. For 2018, HP is asking agency partners to define specific underrepresented groups by country and set clear objectives, measurements and plans to increase diverse talent on HP business.

HP CMO Antonio Lucio says, “The power of diversity is a fundamental human truth. Humanity is more powerful, more creative and more innovative with it than it can ever be without. As an advocate for diversity, including increasing the number of women sitting in the director’s chair, it’s exciting to see these remarkable films directed by women with predominantly female casts and crews. As one of the world’s iconic brands, we have enormous catalytic power to drive change and lead by example.”

Learn more about the power of stories and the history of reinventing at HP.