Channel 4 has unveiled the six shortlisted finalists of its £1.1m Diversity in Advertising Award.
This year’s award challenged the advertising industry to address ageism, focusing on the inauthentic and often clichéd portrayals of different age groups within UK advertising.
The six brands and agencies are: Baileys (VMLY&R), Boots (VMLY&R), Eve Sleep (Creature London), Hidden Hearing (The Sharp Agency), Shelter (Who Wot Why), and Tena (Abbott Mead Vickers BDDO).
The brands stand to win £1m-worth of commercial advertising airtime on Channel 4. There is an additional prize of a £100,000 social media campaign created by the broadcaster’s in-house digital content team 4Studio, covering production and media value across Channel 4’s Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels.
Shortlisted brands will be eligible for up to £250,000 of match-funded commercial airtime, which means the potential total prize pot exceeds £2m.
This year’s judging panel featured representatives from Channel 4, IPA, ISBA, The Marketing Society, Advertising Association, Thinkbox, Greys Matter, Diversity Standards Collective and Campaign.
The winning campaign will be announced towards the end of October.
Verica Djurdjevic, Channel 4’s chief revenue officer, said: “As the youngest-skewing broadcaster, Channel 4 is synonymous with younger audiences but it’s important we embrace all characteristics of diversity if we want a genuinely inclusive society.
“Channel 4’s Diversity In Advertising Award has already had a huge impact and been directly responsible for some fantastically creative campaigns and I can’t wait to see the entries from this year’s shortlisted finalists.”
The ageism topic for this year’s awards follows recent research commissioned by Channel 4, which found TV ads in the UK primarily focused on younger characters. Only 29% of characters were over the age of 50 and only 12% were cast in lead roles.
It also found that age representation differed between genders, with male characters more likely to be older. Women, who were more often younger, were often used for brand building, while older women felt they were more likely to be portrayed in a stereotypical way.
The Advertising Association’s recent All In census also revealed a disparity in the ages of those who work in the UK advertising industry, with minimal representation of either the under-25s or over-55s.
Each year Channel 4’s Diversity in Advertising Award asks brands and their agency partners to produce a campaign that tackles a social issue.
Previous winning campaigns have focused on disability (Maltesers), mental health (Lloyds Bank), the portrayal of women in the media (RAF), the lack of representation and stereotyping of the LGBTQ+ community (Starbucks), and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) culture (EA Sports – watch video above).