EA Sports wins Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising award

The grand prize is £1m of commercial airtime.

EA Sports’ global "Fifa21 - Win as One' campaign launched in September
EA Sports’ global "Fifa21 - Win as One' campaign launched in September

EA Sports and its creative agency Adam & Eve/DDB have won Channel 4’s 2020 Diversity in Advertising Award.

The video games giant, which is behind the popular Fifa football franchise, will be given £1m of commercial airtime by the broadcaster as a grand prize.

Details of the winning campaign are not being revealed before the advertising is launched on Channel 4 next year. This year’s award is focussed on the authentic portrayal of UK black, Asian and minority ethnic cultures in advertising.

Lloyds Bank, as well as their agencies MediaCom and Guap Studios, were awarded a “highly commended” accolade and, for the first time, Channel 4 is awarding £350,000 of free advertising to the bank to help fund the campaign in a match-funding arrangement. Guap is a youth-led media platform dedicated to discovering and showcasing diverse emerging talent.

Runners-up - each of which will be awarded £250,000 in match-funded airtime - are Boots (along with Ogilvy UK), #MerkyBooks (PlayNice), Royal Navy (Engine) and Tesco (an in-house entry).

The award focuses on a different facet of diversity each year and encourages brands and agencies to embrace inclusive creative campaigns.

This year's award follows research commissioned by 4Sales that analysed 1,000 TV ads over a two-month period and found that BAME cultures were not sufficiently or authentically represented in ads.

The results of a Channel 4 survey of 1,000 people (500 from BAME groups and 500 white), meanwhile, revealed a widely held perception that brands still aren’t doing enough to reflect different cultures in TV advertising, with half (51%) of BAME respondents saying that current TV advertising does not represent different cultures well, and three in five (62%) saying it does not represent black and brown cultures well.

The winner was decided at a socially distanced judging day held at London’s Roundhouse.

Matt Salmon, Channel 4’s interim sales director and chair of judges said: “We created the £1m Diversity in Advertising award to inspire lasting change in the industry’s approach to the representation of diverse groups in advertising and we’ve seen the many benefits of this through previous winners’ campaigns. 

“EA Sports are deserving winners of this year’s prize and we really hope each of the runners-up takes advantage our significant match-funding offer to bring their entries to life.”

It is the second time a client of Adam & Eve/DDB has won the competition, following Lloyds Bank in 2017, after that year's original winners, Volvo and Grey London withdrew.

Previous winners of the award also include Maltesers and the RAF.

Last year, Starbucks UK and its creative agency, Iris London, won the award for "What’s your name", which tells the story of a transgender person trialling their new name.