Channel 4’s Diversity in Advertising Award returns, offering £1m of airtime

Following focuses on mental health, disability and gender representation, this year’s award will focus on the “lack of authenticity in TV advertising of people from BAME communities”.

21 August 2020

Channel 4 has announced the return of its Diversity in Advertising Award. Following research into the “universal lack of authentic portrayal in TV advertising of people from BAME communities, their backgrounds, lives and cultures and that the industry isn’t moving fast enough on this issue,” the award will give £1m of Channel 4 commercial airtime to the winning advert.

Each year the Diversity in Advertising Award chooses to focus on a certain area within the advertising industry, and this year links to C4’s six commitments “to be a driver of anti-racism in the creative industries and improve black and minority ethnic representation.”

Conducting a survey to aid its decisions and the need for change, C4 surveyed 1,000 people (500 BAME and 500 white) to “reveal a widely held perception, particularly among BAME people, that brands still aren’t doing enough to reflect different cultures in TV advertising.” For instance, the results of the survey revealed that “two thirds (62 per cent) of BAME people say that current TV advertising does not represent black and brown culture well (vs 41 per cent of white people) – 12 per cent said there is no representation at all.” Two thirds of BAME respondents also said “they’d feel more positive about any brand that showcases different cultures in their advertising (only 3 per cent said they’d feel more negative).”

Entries are now open (until 30 September) for advert submissions and a diverse panel of judges has been selected to decide who will be awarded the £1m worth of airtime. Five runner-up positions will also be offered £250k of funded commercial airtime. Previous winners of the award include Maltesers for its focus on disability, Lloyds Bank for its representation of mental health, Starbucks’ advert tackling the lack of representation and stereotyping of the LGBTQI+ community, and the portrayal of women in the media by the RAF.

Matt Salmon, Channel 4’s sales director adds: “We know that the term BAME is imperfect, covering a range of different experiences and that the issues of representation and inclusion for different BAME communities are not homogenous. However, the lack of authenticity and misrepresentation in the portrayal of BAME cultures in TV advertising is universal, and our research shows that the industry isn’t moving fast enough on this issue. We hope this year’s Diversity in Advertising Award will once again encourage powerful creative campaigns that deliver positive progress towards reflecting the UK in all its diversity.”

For further details on how to enter, head here.

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Lucy Bourton

Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.

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