General Mills only wants an ad agency staffed with 50% women and 20% people of colour

Lucky charmsYouTube/ScreenshotGeneral Mills owns the Lucky Charms brand.

General Mills — the US food manufacturer behind brands like Lucky Charms, Cheerios, Pillsbury, and Yoplait — has some very specific requirements for its creative agency review.

The company is in the process of asking ad agencies to pitch for its creative account, which will cover its advertising, product, and content across all its US retail brands.

Speaking to AdAge, General Mills chief marketing officer Ann Simonds revealed the food giant has stipulated that the competing agencies must be staffed with at least 50% women and 20% people of colour within their creative departments.

Simonds said: “We are very excited about that. If you are going to put the people you serve first, the most important thing is to live up to it and make it a key criteria.”

She said the requirement “feels like a first in the industry,” adding: “I think it’s rare and it is important.”

A survey conducted by The 3% Conference — an event that champions female leadership — found that women make up 46.4% of the ad industry, yet just 11.5% of creative directors within those agencies are female.

It is for that reason that General Mills has specified diversity quotas specifically within the creative department.

General Mills chief creative officer Michael Fanuele told AdAge: “Agencies are fairly diverse in account and strategic planning but not with the people who are making the work.”

The agencies currently fighting it out for General Mills’ business include incumbents 72andsunny, McCann, and Saatchi & Saatchi holding company Publicis Groupe, plus some agencies not currently on its roster, including Deutsch and Mother, according to AdAge.

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