The annual award offers brands and agencies the opportunity to win over £1million of free advertising for the best creative response to Channel 4’s diversity brief.
This sixth edition of the competition invited advertisers to address issues relating to ageism – in particular, the inauthentic and sometimes clichéd portrayals of different age groups within current UK ad creative.
The winning campaign, pitched by representatives from TENA and AMV BBDO, utilised a clever storyline to educate viewers about the realities of the menopause. The prize totals £1 million worth of Channel 4 commercial advertising airtime for the campaign and, new for the 2021 edition of the award, an additional £100k bespoke social media campaign created by the broadcaster’s in-house digital content team 4Studio. Both elements are expected to launch early in 2022.
Eve Sleep & Creature London were highly commended by the judges and the other runners up included: Hidden Hearing (The Sharp Agency); Baileys (VMLY&R); Shelter (Who Wot Why); and Boots (VMLY&R). All five runners-up will be offered match funding of up to £250,000 each to encourage all the pitched campaigns to be produced.
TENA (AMV BBDO) was judged to be the best entry by a diverse judging panel, featuring many of the industry’s leading figures. It followed a robust entry process in which the number of entrants was at the highest for three years.
Channel 4’s Chief Revenue Officer Verica Djurdjevic said: “The Diversity In Advertising Award is a testament to Channel 4’s commitment to ensure representation and inclusion remain a priority across all of our output above and beyond our editorial content.
“It’s so important that we keep challenging perceptions and encourage better representation and authenticity in advertising.”
Sophie Devonshire, CEO, The Marketing Society, and a member of the award judging panel said: “The quality of campaigns was truly inspirational and showed how diversity can bring so much to the creative process and generate incredible ideas. I’m really looking forward to seeing TENA & AMV BBDO’s campaign on air next year.”
Meta Redstedt, Global Brand and Communications Director of TENA, said: “At TENA we’ve made it our mission to challenge negative representations of female ageing, and in this campaign we will redefine what it means to be a woman going through the menopause.
“With Channel 4’s partnership, we’ll inspire change in households across the nation, creating an important and new cultural narrative for the menopause. We’re absolutely delighted to be the recipients of this award alongside AMV BBDO.”
Nadja Lossgott and Nicholas Hulley, Executive Creative Directors of AMV BBDO, said: “The menopause seems to have been constantly misrepresented if represented at all, making it a scary, shameful and lonely process for so many women. So we are proud and excited that TENA and the AMV team have won Channel 4’s Diversity in Advertising Award. It’s a brilliant platform to start telling the stories that will let millions of women be seen and feel seen. We can’t wait for the work to be out in the world.”
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.
Channel 4 launched its ground-breaking award in 2016 to encourage the advertising industry to embrace inclusive creative campaigns and extend Channel 4’s leadership in diversity beyond its editorial content and into the ad breaks.
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).