Channel 4 shortlists seven finalists for its £1 million Diversity in Advertising Award

Channel 4 has announced the short-listed finalists of its £1m Diversity in Advertising Award, which is challenging the advertising industry to tackle the ongoing lack of authentic representation and portrayal of visible and/ or non-visible disabled people in TV advertising. For the first time in the award’s history, seven brands made the list instead of the usual six due to the strength of the entries.  

The brands stand to win £1 million worth of commercial advertising airtime across the whole 4Sales portfolio, including Channel 4, All 4 and, for the first time, Channel 4’s YouTube channel. The prize is 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 Facebook, Instagram and YouTube Channels.

The seven brands and agencies are: M&S (ODD Mindshare); Limitless Travel (Hearts & Minds); LinkedIn (VCCP); Sure (AMV BBDO); Vanish (Havas London); Moonpig (Creature London) and George at Asda (Impero).

Channel 4’s Chief Revenue Officer Veriça Djurdjevic said: “Congratulations to the shortlisted brands and agencies! Once again, competition was fierce with a fantastic range of entries which really showcased the best in British advertising creativity. 

“It was truly heartening to see the industry’s response to the brief, and I’m excited to see this year’s shortlist pitch for the big prize in a few weeks’ time.  

“I also hope that all entrants to the competition will consider putting the realistic portrayal of disabled people front and centre of their advertising campaigns in the future as there is everything to gain, creatively and commercially, by making advertising authentically representative of all UK consumers.”   

The brands who have made it to the shortlist will be eligible for up to £250k of match-funded commercial airtime, meaning the potential total prize pot exceeds £2 million.

The broadcaster’s push to address the continued lack of prominence of disability in UK advertising comes off the back of new research* from Channel 4’s award-winning insight project, Mirror On The Industry. It highlights that much more work needs to be done if British TV Ads are to be truly representative of the UK’s disabled population, which is currently more than one in five people.

New data reveals that just 4% of TV adverts in the UK feature disabled people (vs 3% in 2020) which is considerably low compared to the 22% of the UK population who are disabled. Furthermore, the majority of these roles were filled by older characters (33% over 50​ vs. 11% of all characters) and only 1% ​of TV adverts feature disabled people playing lead roles​ (staying flat vs 2018 and 2020 data).

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

Previous winners 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 LGBT+ community (Starbucks), Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Culture (EA Sports) and age representation (TENA). 

More details are available here:

The judging panel includes: Verica Djurdjevic, Chief Revenue Officer, Channel 4 (Chair of Judges); Zaid Al-Qassab, Channel 4’s Chief Marketing Officer; Ade Adepitan, Paralympic Medallist, Journalist and father; Leila Siddiqi, Associate Director, Diversity, IPA; Gideon Spanier, UK Editor-in-Chief, Campaign; Bobi Carley, Head of Media & Diversity and Inclusion Lead, ISBA; Sharon Lloyd-Barnes, Commercial Director, Advertising Association; Lindsey Clay, CEO Thinkbox; James Taylor, Executive Director of Strategy, Impact and Social Change, Scope; Steve Lacey, Founder, The Outsiders; Corie Brown, Continuity Announcer & 4Purple Co-Chair, Channel 4. 

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