Sky launches its own diversity competition to encourage more ‘ethnic’ advertising

The brand with the best “culturally relevant” campaign will win £50,000 of airtime on Sky Media’s AdSmart platform.

Sky diversity

Sky Media is launching a competition to encourage British brands to “be braver” and submit their ideas for a campaign targeting ethnic minority groups.

The competition was unveiled during a panel at the Festival of Marketing yesterday (4 October), and aims to encourage brands to have “a serious conversation” about ethnic minorities in the UK and submit campaign ideas to target them.

The brand with the best “culturally relevant” campaign will win £50,000 of airtime on Sky Media’s AdSmart platform, which can reach viewers on 32 multicultural channels hosting shows such as India’s Got Talent, MasterChef India or Big Boss (the Indian equivalent of Big Brother). Sky defines ‘culturally relevant’ as “any insight about a particular culture or group of people”.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Sky’s head of multicultural, Debarshi Pandit, says the competition looks to make it “easier” for brands to target ethnic minorities and drive a wider change of attitude among British advertisers.

“We know it’s a challenge, we know marketers are not brave enough to put money into a category which they don’t know. But 77% of British Asians feel mainstream advertising has no relevance to them; that’s 4 million people. This should be a wake up call to advertisers,” he says.

77% of British Asians feel mainstream advertising has no relevance to them; that’s 4 million people. This should be a wake up call to advertisers.

Debarshi Pandit, Sky

Sky is not the only company trying to encourage brands to be more diverse in their advertising. Channel 4 first looked to encourage advertisers to be inclusive last year with the launch of the ‘Superhumans Wanted’ competition, which has since been rebranded as the ‘Diversity in Advertising Award’. But when questioned if Sky was inspired to launch its own campaign after seeing Channel 4 tackling diversity in advertising, Pandit denies this.

“People have been talking about [diversity], Channel 4 has been doing some great stuff. They have the disability element covered. But our strength lies in speaking to multicultural consumers,” he says.

Sky says it has plans to repeat the competition if successful, and wants to do “whatever it takes to make brands think differently”.

“Think different is our mantra. I want marketers to do an internal audit on their own customer base. I come from an Indian background, this doesn’t mean I don’t go out and buy shoes or chocolates or clothes or whatever. But am I being communicated to in a culturally relevant manner, probably no.”

Entries are now being accepted, with the deadline at the end of this year. A winner will be chosen at the beginning of 2018. Ad scripts and ideas can be submitted directly to Pandit, by emailing him on debarshi.pandit@sky.uk

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Comments
  • Jasdeep Deol 6 Oct 2017 at 12:55 pm

    As a British Asian I don’t understand why I need to be spoken to differently, or why my purchasing behaviour would be influenced by my ethnicity. Treating Asians or any racial “segment” as one homogeneous group is lazy and outdated thinking.

  • Pete Austin 9 Oct 2017 at 10:25 am

    WTF??? Was this an interview with a prankster?

    Think of mainstream offers like BOGOF, 3-for-2, or a straightforward price reduction which apply to everyone – research that claims British Asians think these offers have “no relevance to them” is self-evidently wrong. Or more likely being totally misreported. How does this guy think a 3-for-2 should be be “communicated to in a culturally relevant manner”? I’ll wait.

    Also “Channel 4 has been doing some great stuff. They have the disability element covered”. Ridiculous. My disability is asthma, which is very common, but I’ve yet to see this covered in TV adverts. Let me have some links to examples of people using reliever inhalers.

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