Starbucks wins Channel 4’s £1m diversity competition

The broadcaster tasked entrants to pitch campaigns that challenged stereotyping around the LGBT+ community, as well as highlighting the lack of representation in advertising.

Starbucks has won Channel 4’s annual £1m Diversity in Advertising Award, which this year tasked entrants with coming up with a campaign focused on the lack of representation and stereotyping of the LGBT+ community in advertising.

The coffee giant’s campaign, created by Iris, is expected to launch in February next year. Starbucks will receive £1m-worth of commercial advertising for winning.

Starbucks marketing & product director Neil Littler, says: “Starbucks is proud to have a long history of creating inclusive and welcoming places for the LGBT+ community. We have collaborated with Iris London on a creative campaign that tells a powerful story for the LGBT+ community, and furthers a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity in our stores.

“We are honoured to win this award and look forward to telling our story on Channel 4.”

Channel 4 also gave a highly commended to Screwfix and its agency Wavemaker for a campaign concentrated on LGBT+ workers in the construction industry. Other brands shortlisted for the prize were Virgin Media, Snickers, CALM, Coca-Cola and

This is the fourth instalment of Channel 4’s diversity award and this year’s theme was chosen to align with the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The decision on the theme was also made in response to a global study into the inclusivity of TV advertising, which was commissioned by Channel 4 and YouGov.

According to the study, the LGBT+ community features in just 3% of ads despite making up at least 6% of the population.

Channel 4’s chief commercial officer, Jonathan Allan, says diversity is at the heart of “everything we do at Channel 4” and that the broadcaster is determined to drive lasting positive change in TV advertising.

“When it comes to LGBT+ representation in advertising, visibility has increased but as our research finds, LGBT+ people are still underrepresented or portrayed negatively. That is why this ground-breaking campaign by Starbucks stood out and we can’t wait to work with them to bring their winning idea to air,” he explains.

In addition to the £1m free air-time that Starbucks has been awarded, Channel 4 will also match-fund runner-up campaigns with commercial airtime worth £250,000.

Last year’s award was won by the Royal Air Force and creative agency Engine for their campaign challenging the portrayal of women in advertising.