Boots, EA Sports, Lloyds Bank, the Royal Navy, Merky Books and Tesco have been shortlisted for the Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award, which focuses on the authentic portrayal of UK black, Asian and minority ethnic cultures.
The finalists, along with their agencies – Ogilvy UK (Boots), Adam & Eve/DDB (EA Sports), MediaCom x Guap Studios (Lloyds) and Engine (Royal Navy) – will present their ideas to a judging panel on 18 November. The entries from Merky Books – the publishing venture of grime artist Stormzy –and Tesco have been created in-house.
The winner will be announced on 26 November and awarded £1m in airtime. The runners-up will receive £250,000 in a match-funding agreement.
This year's competition received 30 entries. It followed research commissioned by Channel 4's sales division 4Sales that found a lack of authenticity in the way that people from BAME backgrounds are portrayed in TV ads.
The contest is also part of the broadcaster's commitment to be a "driver of anti-racism in the creative industries and improve black and minority ethnic representation".
Channel 4 has given away £4m-worth of commercial airtime so far as part of its Diversity in Advertising Award. Previous themes have been disability (won by Maltesers), mental health (Lloyds Bank), the portrayal of women in the media (RAF) and the lack of representation and stereotyping of the LGBT+ community (Starbucks).
Matt Salmon, sales director for Channel 4 and chair of judges, said: "Diversity and inclusion are at the centre of everything we do at Channel 4, not only because it's baked into our remit and is the right thing to do, but also because we know it makes business sense. Through this competition we strive to inspire change in the industry and our previous winners demonstrate the creative and commercial benefits of embracing diversity in advertising.
"Despite the challenges faced by the industry in 2020, this year's competition entries showcase some really compelling campaign ideas from an eclectic variety of brands."