Media For All (MEFA) CEO Naren Patel set up the MEFA Diversity and Inclusion awards, in partnership with Campaign, when a survey found businesses were experiencing “DEI fatigue”; they were under so much pressure that diversity and inclusion were taking a back seat.
The idea was to celebrate the achievements of advertisers, media organisations and individuals who champion DEI in their work.
Here, we showcase that work and reveal why the jury, listed below and chaired by WPP UK president Karen Blackett, chose the winners of the inaugural awards from among 135 entries.
If you missed the ceremony or simply want to relive the highlights, watch the video below and flick through photos from the evening in the gallery above.
THE 2023 WINNERS
Gerry Anyanwu, client development director, global and co-founder, Join Our Table
The judges said: “Gerry is a real force of nature at Global, she has a senior customer facing role and has been driving the business by sitting on the ERG to make it more inclusive. She is also the recently set up Join our Table and is also the founder of the Uncommon Collective a youth development platform.”
Anyanwu said: “This award is about my visibility, my vulnerability and my validation. That I am seen in an industry where intersectional women often aren’t. That my desire to be vulnerable with my lived experience can continue to help others and that my choice to be purposeful is actually my life alignment speaking volumes.”
Fiona Cameron, senior learning and development business partner, Group M
Inclusive Media Planning & Buying
Manning Gottlieb OMD, OMG Unite and OmniGov: NHS Blood and Transplant
The judges said: “An incredibly innovative campaign which reframed blood donation and had the power to bring together and unlock audiences’ inner superheroes.”
The campaign sparked a 10 per cent uplift in ‘top of mind awareness’ for the target audience, with 67 per cent of the Ethnic Heritage group stating that they would be willing to donate in the future (45 per cent average).
The7stars: KA, "Be the noise"
The judges said: “A bold campaign which reflected the bright, energetic, DIY multicultural side of Britain.”
The7stars integrated a campaign for KA Drinks which spanned social, OOH and experiential.
VCCP, Cadbury Dairy Milk Fingers, "BSL fingers"
The judges said: “VCCP campaign for Cadbury shined a light on the often-underrepresented deaf community.”
This campaign resulted in a 65 per cent increase in Twitter conversation around BSL and 20% increase in visits on National Deaf Society’s website.
Ally Owen, founder, Brixton Finishing School
The judges said: “Ally Owen was the worthy winner of this award due to her unwavering commitment to creating a pipeline for young diverse talent into the industry.”
Owen has spent several years rewriting the talent blueprint for the industry through her talent accelerator, Brixton Finishing School.
Marty Davies, joint chief executive officer, Outvertsing
Davina Barker, sales director, Digital Cinema Media
Award judge, Karen Blackett OBE, said: “This was by far the toughest category to judge as the calibre was so high.”
“I’m honoured to be recognised at the inaugural MEFA awards alongside so many other amazing individuals and businesses who are contributing to a more inclusive and equitable media industry.” - Davina Barker, Sales Director
Nishma Patel Robb, (former) senior director, marketing, Google UK and president of Wacl
Serhat Ekinci, managing director, OMG Unite
All in Champion
Omnicom Media Group
MEFA CEO, Naren Patel, said: “The winning entry from Omnicom provided a lot more detailed data points which clearly demonstrated the improvements that they have made in their business over the last few years.”
Patel continued: “The All in Champion award recognises businesses that have achieved All in Status and have adopted the first 6 actions which help to improve the experiences of under represented groups. We were looking to reward businesses that could demonstrate real progress on DEI initiatives within their business.”
Channel 4 for C4 Diversity in Advertising Award
The Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award challenges UK Brands and Creative Agencies to be more inclusive in their TV advertising campaign by providing £1m of advertising space - the campaign has been running since 2016 and the 2023 winner was E45 and The & Partnership for LGBTQIA+ representation
EssenceMediaCom for Inclusive Planning
This award goes to EssenceMediaCom for their inclusive media planning framework which was spearheaded by Claire McAlpine. This approach pledged to move media planning to always focus on a diverse audience to help brands better communicate.
This approach is not just something that is done in preparation for cultural events or religious celebrations – it is embedded into the way EssenceMediaCom work across all briefs and is integral to growth opportunities for their brands.
The 2023 judges:
Karen Blackett OBE, UK president, WPP
Elizabeth Anyaegbuna, cofounder of SixteenByNine, president of Bloom UK
Davina Barker, commercial director, Digital Cinema Media
Ravleen Beeston, regional vice president of sales, Microsoft Advertising UK
Jacqueline Boakye, vice president customer success EMEA, PubMatic
Richard Bon, chief executive officer, Clear Channel
Richie Booker, head of diversity and belonging, Hearst UK
Dan Clays, chief executive officer, Omnicom Media Group
Fatima Dowlet, propositions partner, Channel 4
Phil Hall, chief executive officer UK, Ocean Outdoor
Liz Jones, cofounder, Conker
Jon Kershaw, managing director, PHD Manchester
Dave King, global commercial officer, Blis
Sharon Lloyd-Barnes, commercial director, Advertising Association
Lucy McKillop, global brand director at Dentsu, joint chief executive officer of Outvertising
Sajeeda Merali, chief executive officer, PPA
Dino Myers-Lamptey, founder, The Barbershop
Sarah Parkes, chief sales & marketing officer, Talon
Bhavesh Patel, director of media UK & Europe, Sky
Nishma Patel Robb, senior director brand & reputation, Google and President of WACL
Harjot Singh, global chief strategy officer, McCann
Gideon Spanier, UK editor-in-chief, Campaign
Maya Tank, senior client partner, Double Verify
Sue Todd, chief executive officer, NABS
HannahTucker, director of culture and internal communications, Global
Jane Wolfson, trustee & board advisor