C4 £1m advertising diversity award focuses on portrayal of women

Channel 4 today announced its £1 million Diversity in Advertising Award for 2018 will focus on the portrayal of women in advertising.

The award, which offers £1 million worth of commercial airtime to the winning creative idea, is inviting brands and creative agencies to develop a campaign which explores both the proportion of representation and how women are represented in adverts.

2018 has seen a spotlight turned on to gender pay gaps, the flourishing of the #MeToo movement, and 100 years since women won the right to vote. And now Channel 4 is asking ad creatives to create campaigns which challenge engrained stereotypes, objectification and sexualisation of women.

Channel 4’s Head of Agency & Client Sales and Commercial Marketing Matt Salmon said: “There are campaigns already on our screens which represent women in a positive and appropriate manner – but sadly there just aren’t enough of them.

“This year we’re looking for an ad that really stands out even from the positive ads we’ve seen before. We want a campaign that’s a beacon for the issue, an idea that calls out the challenges and makes a really positive statement to our audiences.

“The winning ad shouldn’t be representative of what the future ‘norm’ should be, it should act as a catalyst for the change in mindset we’d like to see within the industry.”

Studies have revealed a wide range of issues – such as prominence, objectification and intelligence – when it comes to the representation of women in the media. Unpacking Gender Bias in Advertising (opens in a new window) revealed that: there are twice as many male characters in adverts than female characters; 25% of ads feature men only, while only 5% of ads feature women only; and 18% feature only male voices while less than 3% of ads feature female voices only.

The study also showed that women in ads are mostly in their 20s whereas men are in their 20s, 30s and 40s, one in ten female characters are shown in sexually revealing clothing – six times the number of men; and women are more likely to the shown in the kitchen while men are more likely to be shown at a sporting event.

The £1m Diversity in Advertising Award was launched today at Channel 4 at an event which included Shadow Secretary of State, Women and Equality, Dawn Butler MP and included a presentation by Leila Siddiqi, Head of Diversity IPA and Lindsey Clay, CEO Thinkbox.

A panel which included Jean Reddan, Head of Marketing and Comms at Lloyds Bank and Rebecca Shepheard-Walwyn, Brand Director at Maltesers, discussed diversity issues facing the advertising industry.

The Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award is a commitment to help improve diversity in advertising each year until 2020. Each year the £1 million airtime award is focused on a different area of diversity and encourages the advertising industry to embrace inclusive campaigns and extend Channel 4’s leadership in diversity beyond its editorial output and into the ad breaks.

In 2016 the competition focused on improving the representation of disability and was won by Mars and AMV for their Maltesers campaign. In 2017 the focus was on non-visible disabilities and was won by Lloyds Bank’s #GetTheInsideOut campaign which focused on mental health.

Rebecca Shepheard-Walwyn, MALTESERS® Brand Director, Mars Wrigley Confectionery UK, said: “The Maltesers campaign resulting from our winning of this competition in 2016 was our most successful campaign ever, reinforcing the value of reflecting diversity in everyday media. Maltesers’ latest campaign now tackles perceived female stereotypes and I’m looking forward to seeing what other great creative ideas on this important topic come out of this year’s awards.”

The deadline for this year’s entries is 9th July 2018 and a shortlist will be announced on 17 July.

Finalists will pitch their ideas to a judging panel, chaired by Channel 4’s Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Allan, which includes – Claire Beale, Global Editor-In-Chief, Campaign; Dan Brooke, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Channel 4; Lindsey Clay, CEO, Thinkbox; Jane English, Business Director, 4Creative; Karen Fraser, Director Credos & Head of Strategy, Advertising Association; Gemma Greaves, CEO The Marketing Society; and Leila Siddiqi, Head of Diversity at the IPA.

The winner will be announced in September and the campaign will be on air in early 2019. The competition’s runners up will have the opportunity to take up the offer of match-funded commercial airtime.



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