“An unapologetically Muslim commercial”: The winner of Channel 4’s £1 million Diversity in Advertising Award launches today

The new campaign features Premier League midfielder Hamza Choudhury and highlights British Asian representation in football.

Date
23 April 2021
Reading Time
3 minutes

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Channel 4’s £1 million Diversity in Advertising Award launches today. The new campaign, made in collaboration with Fifa 21 TV and advertising agency adam&eveDDB, addresses the lack of British Asian professional footballers. Shining a light on grassroots football team, the Midnight Ramadan League, the new ad also features Premier League star Hamza Choudhury. Directed by Bassam Tariq of Pulse Films, the TV ad champions how the game is changing with new role models representing minority communities, and how this will have a huge impact on future generations.

Channel 4’s annual £1 million Diversity in Advertising Award focuses on a different area of diversity each year, encouraging the advertising industry to increasingly embrace creative campaigns. Now in its fifth year, the new ad is also part of EA Sports’ Inspire The Next Generation campaign, which aims to shine a light on the British Asians in football and break the cycle which has previously held the community back.

Hamza Choudhury, a midfielder for Leicester City and EA Sports Fifa ambassador, says of the campaign in a statement: “Growing up, football was always my first love. From playing with my friends in the street after school, to heading to the pitch ad the weekends, it was always my dream to become a football player. I’m proud of my Asian heritage and without it, I wouldn’t be the person or footballer that I am today.”

The one minute ad tells the story of protagonist Qaiser, a British Asian teenager who is also a role model to his younger sister, Aaminah. After breaking fast, the viewer sees him leaving home to play with grassroots team Midnight Ramadan League. As Qaiser finds himself tackled to the ground, he realises Hamza Choudhury is there, who lifts him up, takes the ball and scores a goal. As Qaiser arrives home later that night, he takes a ball excitedly to the back garden with Aaminah.

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EA Sports and Fifa: Fifa21 x C4 Diversity in Advertising (Copyright © EA Sports and Fifa, 2021)

According to a survey conducted by the Football Supporters’ Association and Beyond Entertainment last year, 86 per cent of football fans felt that more British Asian role models would increase their number in the industry. Other research conducted last year showed that British Asians made up only 0.25 per cent of the UK’s 4,000 professional footballers. But when it comes to playing football recreationally, British Asians make up 9.7 per cent of the population.

Aiming to represent underrepresented communities authentically, the Diversity in Advertising Award highlights the importance of reflecting the UK’s cultural diversity. The winner gets £1 million worth of commercial airtime as part of Channel 4’s commitment to be a driver of anti-racism in the creative industries and “improve Black and minority ethnic representation,” reads a statement.

Bassam Tariq, the ad’s director went on to say of the new ad: “Though the film has countless men running around the screen, it’s important to note that this spot was built from the ground up by Black and Brown women leading the charge – both from EA Sports and Adam&eveDDB… Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever direct such an unapologetically Muslim commercial with my fellow sisters and brothers in faith. It wasn’t enough that we worked closely with the Midnight Ramadan League co-founder Obayed Hussain, but we prayed, broke bread and drank buttloads of chai together. I’m honoured to have worked on such a pivotal commercial not only for the Birmingham folks but also for myself as I continue to broaden my own experience of what it means to be Muslim and Asian.”

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EA Sports and Fifa: Fifa21 x C4 Diversity in Advertising (Copyright © EA Sports and Fifa, 2021)

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.

jo@itsnicethat.com

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