Channel 4 names seven finalists of its £1m Diversity in Advertising Award 2019

Category: News Release

Channel 4 today announced the seven brands shortlisted to win £1 million of commercial airtime via the Diversity in Advertising Award, which this year focuses on the lack of representation and stereotyping of the LGBT+ community.

The seven shortlisted brands and agencies, chosen from nearly 40 entries, are: and adam&eve DDB; CALM and adam&eve DDB; Coca-Cola and Epoch Design; Screwfix and Wavemaker UK; Snickers and AMV BBDO; Starbucks UK and Iris London; and Virgin Media and adam&eve DDB.

The award aims to encourage the advertising industry to embrace inclusive campaigns, extending Channel 4’s leadership in diversity beyond its editorial output and into the ad breaks.

The focus of this year’s competition comes after Channel 4’s sales house, 4Sales, commissioned the world’s biggest study in to diversity representation in TV ads, analysing 1,000 television adverts over a two-month period, to discover how minority groups are actually being portrayed. The research discovered that LGBT+ people hardly appear in adverts and can be stereotyped or portrayed negatively.

Channel 4’s Head of Agency & Client Sales and Commercial Marketing Matt Salmon said: “Diversity and inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes commercial sense as proven by previous award winners who have shown that embracing diversity not only leads to more creativity, it helps boost sales and ultimately profits.

“Channel 4 and 4Sales are determined to lead change within the advertising industry. Our ultimate ambition is that the industry embraces more diverse campaigns to the point that it doesn’t take a £1m award to generate a more creative and inclusive approach to advertising.”

The finalists will present their campaign ideas to the judging panel on 17th September. In addition to the £1m award, all shortlisted entries will be offered match-funded commercial airtime up to a maximum of £250k.

The annual Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award has so far given away £3 million worth of commercial airtime. Previous winners of the award have focussed on disability, mental health and the portrayal of women in the media.

Each year the award concentrates 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 on mental health. Last year’s award explored the portrayal of women in advertising and was won by the RAF and Engine.


Notes to Editors

4Sales commissioned independent research organisation YouGov to explore diversity representation in TV ads through a multi-layered research approach.

First, they coded 1,000 TV adverts from two typical months in 2018 (the top 500 adverts in both May & September). These 1,000 adverts accounted for just under two-thirds (73%) of all adult advertising impacts from the periods, so accounted for the majority of the population’s typical advertising viewing.

YouGov marked each advert for the representation of each group - whether they were featured in the ad at all, and then, if they were, exactly how they were represented- (e.g. were they playing a lead role in the advert or were they a background character, could their appearance in the advert be deemed as derogatory, stereotypical or pushing the boundaries).

To supplement this, a quantitative survey was carried out of 2,000 adults representative of the UK– including a boost sample for each of the minority groups we looked at – to the perceptions of the total population in comparison to specific minority groups – primarily BAME, LGBTQ+ and people living with a disability.

The research undertaken on behalf of 4Sales showed –

  • People from the LGBT+ community feature in just 3% of the adverts in the survey, despite making up at least 6% of the UK population
  • A quantitative survey of 2,000 adults found that the wider population hugely overestimates the percentage of adverts that include members of the LGBT+ community (22%) versus the reality (3%)
  • Among the focus groups, many LBGT+ people felt adverts relied on same sex couples with little thought being given to bisexuals, gender fluid and transgender people
  • And many of the LGBT+ focus group felt advertisers fell foul of resorting to common stereotypes portraying lesbians as ‘butch’, gay men as ‘camp’ or showing gay characters in a party scene
  • Sixty per cent of the 2,000 adults surveyed felt the LGBT+ community, when it did appear in adverts, was represented in a negative way, often in supporting, tokenistic roles. People also said that same-sex relationships were given very brief exposure in adverts and rarely as part of a family unit.

This year’s judging panel includes: Channel 4’s Chief Commercial Officer and Chair of Judges, Jonathan Allan; Claire Beale, Global Editor-in-Chief, Campaign; Lindsey Clay, CEO, Thinkbox; Jane English, Creative Director, 4Creative; Karen Fraser MBE, Director, Credos & Head of Strategy, Advertising Association; Jake Graf, Director, Writer and Actor; Sarah Garrett MBE CEO at SPM Group and Founder of British LGBT Awards; Gemma Greaves, CEO, Marketing Society; Eoin McLaughlin, Creative Director, 4Creative; Yasir Mirza, Head of Inclusion & Diversity, Channel 4; Mark Runacus MBE, Co-founder Wax/On and PrideAM Chair; Leila Siddiqi, Head of Diversity, IPA; Sanjay Sood-Smith, Executive Director, Stonewall; Angus Wyatt, Commercial Development Executive and Chair 4Pride, Channel 4.