The annual award offers £1m worth of commercial airtime to the best campaign idea from brands and agencies focused on diversity. Each year the broadcaster’s brief has explored a different theme aimed at improving diversity in advertising.
Starting in 2016, the same year as the Rio Paralympics, the first winner was Mars brand Maltesers and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which created ads depicting people with disabilities in everyday, humorous situations.
Most recently, Lloyds Bank and Adam & Eve/DDB won the award for a campaign about non-visible disability. The bank’s spots tackled mental health stigma.
Channel 4’s new brief comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement, debates about the gender pay gap, and 100 years since women won the right to vote in the UK. The broadcaster has tasked creatives with developing campaigns that will challenge stereotypes, objectification and sexualisation of women.
The deadline for this year’s entries is 9 July, and a shortlist will be revealed on 17 July. A winner will be announced in September and the campaign will launch in early 2019.
Runners-up will also be offered match-funded commercial airtime.
Finalists will pitch their ideas to a judging panel, chaired by Channel 4’s chief commercial officer Jonathan Allan.
The judges will include Claire Beale, global editor-in-chief of Campaign; Dan Brooke, chief marketing and communications officer at Channel 4; Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox chief executive; Jane English, business director for 4Creative; Karen Fraser, director credos and head of strategy at the Advertising Association; Gemma Greaves, chief executive of The Marketing Society; and Leila Siddiqi, head of diversity at the IPA.
Channel 4 has committed to providing the Diversity in Advertising Award each year until 2020.
Maltesers, the original winner of the award, has continued its push for more diverse advertising, with ads launched last month that tell the stories of women often misrepresented in media.