Channel 4 shortlists seven brands and agencies for £1m diversity ad prize

Channel 4 has shortlisted seven brands and agencies for its inaugural Diversity in Advertising award which offers the chance to win £1m in airtime for an ad campaign focused on non-visible disability.

Maltesers: won Channel 4's 'Superhumans Wanted' competition last year
Maltesers: won Channel 4's 'Superhumans Wanted' competition last year

More than 50 campaign ideas were pitched that featured a range of non-visible disabilities such as depression, autism, deafness, Alzheimer’s and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Grey London has been shortlisted three times for separate client campaigns for Bose, Marks & Spencer and Volvo.

The seven finalists are:

  • Bose and Grey London;
  • BT and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO;
  • Ford and GTB;
  • Lloyds Bank and Adam & Eve/DDB;
  • Marks & Spencer and Grey London;
  • Panasonic and Brave;
  • Volvo and Grey London.

The inaugural award is a long term commitment from Channel 4 to improve diversity in advertising every year until at least 2020 and each year the prize will focus on a different area of diversity.

It follows the success of last year’s Superhumans Wanted giveaway, which was won by Mars brand Maltesers and its agency AMV with ads that took a light-hearted view of potentially difficult situations. The resulting campaign was Maltesers’ most successful for ten years.

A panel of judges will award the £1m prize to the brand and agency with the strongest idea and the winning campaign will air on Channel 4 in the autumn. The broadcaster will also offer match-funding to the runners-up to encourage them to commit to making their entries.

The seven finalists will present their ideas to a judging panel, chaired by Channel 4 sales director Jonathan Allan, which includes – Campaign’s global editor-in-chief Claire Beale; Matt Berry, group business director at 4Creative; Channel 4’s chief marketing and communications officer Dan Brooke; Thinkbox chief executive Lindsay Clay; Credos director and AA head of strategy Karen Fraser; Alex Ricketts, head of membership of the Marketing Society; and Leila Siddiqi, head of diversity at the IPA.

Allan said: "The ideas submitted this year were so compelling it emphasises just how important this award is. £1m of airtime definitely helps brands really think about the way they approach their campaign strategies and the commercial success Maltesers’ winning ads experienced last year is a clear testimony to the power of putting diversity front and centre of the creative idea."

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