Coke and Starbucks among finalists of Channel 4’s advertising diversity award

CALM, Snickers, Screwfix, Booking.com and Virgin Media have also been shortlisted for this year’s competition, which focuses on the lack of representation and stereotyping of the LGBT+ community.

Channel 4 has unveiled the seven brands shortlisted to win £1m of commercial airtime via its Diversity in Advertising Award, which this year focuses on the lack of representation and stereotyping of the LGBT+ community.

The shortlisted brands and agencies, chosen from nearly 40 entries, are: Booking.com and adam&eve DDB; CALM and adam&eve DDB; Coca-Cola and Epoch Design; Screwfix and Wavemaker UK; Snickers and AMV BBDO; Starbucks UK and Iris London; and Virgin Media and adam&eve DDB.

The focus of this year’s competition comes after Channel 4’s sales house commissioned the world’s biggest study in to diversity representation in TV ads. It analysed 1,000 TV ads over a two-month period to discover how minority groups are portrayed.

The research found that LGBT+ people hardly appear in adverts and can be stereotyped or portrayed negatively.

“Diversity and inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes commercial sense as proven by previous award winners who have shown that embracing diversity not only leads to more creativity, it helps boost sales and ultimately profits,” says Matt Salmon, Channel 4’s head of agency & client sales and commercial marketing.

“Channel 4 and 4Sales are determined to lead change within the advertising industry. Our ultimate ambition is that the industry embraces more diverse campaigns to the point that it doesn’t take a £1m award to generate a more creative and inclusive approach to advertising.”

Forget tokenism: How brands can genuinely appeal to LGBTQ+ consumers

The finalists will present their campaign ideas to the judging panel on 17 September at Channel 4. In addition to the £1m award, all shortlisted entries will be offered match-funded commercial airtime up to a maximum of £250k.

The annual Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award has so far given away £3 million worth of commercial airtime. Previous winners of the award have focused on disability, mental health and the portrayal of women in the media.

In 2016, the competition focused on improving the representation of disability and was won by Mars and AMV for their Maltesers campaign. In 2017, the focus was on non-visible disabilities and was won by Lloyds Bank’s #GetTheInsideOut campaign on mental health.

Last year’s award explored the portrayal of women in advertising and was won by the RAF and Engine.

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