Channel 4 announces six finalists of its £1.1 million Diversity in Advertising Award

Channel 4 has announced the six short-listed finalists of its £1.1m Diversity in Advertising Award which is challenging the advertising industry to address ageism – in particular, the inauthentic and sometimes clichéd portrayals of different age groups within UK advertising.

Six brands stand to win £1 million worth of Channel 4 commercial advertising airtime, boosted further by an additional £100k bespoke social media campaign created by the broadcaster’s award-winning in-house digital content team 4Studio, covering both production and media value across Channel 4’s popular Facebook, Instagram and YouTube Channels.

The six brands and agencies are: Baileys (VMLY&R); Boots (VMLY&R); Eve Sleep (Creature London); Hidden Hearing (The Sharp Agency); Shelter (Who wot Why); and TENA (AMV BDDO).

Channel 4’s Chief Revenue Officer Verica Djurdjevic said: “As the youngest skewing broadcaster Channel 4 is synonymous with younger audiences but it’s important we embrace all characteristics of diversity if we want a genuinely inclusive society.

“Channel 4’s Diversity In Advertising Award has already had a huge impact and been directly responsible for some fantastically creative campaigns and I can’t wait to see the entries from this year’s short listed finalists.”

Making it to the short-list stage means all the brands will be eligible for up to £250k of match funded commercial airtime, meaning the potential total prize pot exceeds £2million.

Recent research* commissioned by Channel 4 found TV adverts in the UK to be primarily focussed on younger characters. Older people are often left out with 29% featuring characters over the age of 50 and only 12% of them cast in lead roles.

It also found that age representation differed between genders. Male characters are more likely to be older, while women are younger and often used for brand building. Older women meanwhile feel they are more likely to be portrayed in a stereotypical way.

The Advertising Association’s recent All In census also revealed a disparity in the ages of those who work in the UK advertising industry, with minimal representation of either the under 25s or over 55s.

This year, a diverse panel of expert judges will award the prize to the brand and agency considered to have pitched the strongest campaign idea.

The winning campaign will be announced towards the end of October.

Previous winning campaigns have focussed on disability (Maltesers), mental health (Lloyds Bank), the portrayal of women in the media (RAF), the lack of representation and stereotyping of the LGBTQ+ community (Starbucks), and Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Culture (EA Sports).

Details about the award and how to enter are available here:

* 4Sales’ 2020 Mirror on the Industry research sampled the top 1000 ads from March and September 2020. 

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