• E45 and The&Partnership win after six finalists pitch their campaign ideas to a judging panel
  • This year’s award challenged UK advertisers on the portrayal of LGBTQIA+ after 4Sales commissioned research revealed brands have stepped back over backlash fears
  • Channel 4 calls on for all the finalists to take up the broadcaster’s offer of £250,00 airtime match funding  

2023 Winner Celebration Broadcast

The brand E45 and its agency The&Partnership have been selected as the winning campaign of Channel 4’s £1 million 2023 Diversity in Advertising Award.

The campaign was chosen from six finalists who rose to the challenge to address the lack of authentic representation of LGBTQIA+ communities in TV advertising across the UK.

A panel of 12, which included leaders from the advertising industry as well as people from the LGBTQIA+ community, selected E45 and The&Partnership’s campaign pitch from the shortlisted finalists.

The campaign will now be produced and broadcast in 2024 and will receive £1 million worth of free advertising space across Channel 4’s portfolio. It will also include an additional £100,000 worth of social media value consisting of £40,000 worth of social production from Channel 4’s in-house digital content creation department, 4Studio, and £60,000 worth of exposure on Channel 4’s social media channels.

This year’s theme came after industry-leading insight commissioned by Channel 4 and 4Sales revealed brands had actively stepped back from portraying LGBTQIA+ communities after becoming apprehensive about promoting campaigns through fear of backlash.

Channel 4 Chief Revenue Officer and chair of the Diversity In Advertising Award judging panel Veriça Djurdjevic said: “The quality of the campaigns in this year’s awards was really high, and it’s probably the strongest set of entries we’ve ever had. The brands and their agencies gave the judging panel a wonderful problem, but E45 and The&Partnership just edged it.  I can’t wait to see their campaign on air, and to see the impact it has.

“Because the entries were all so strong, the judges were passionate about seeing all of the ideas make it to air. I’d urge all the finalists to make their campaigns a reality and take us up on our offer of match funding.”

Sally Perry, Global Skin Health Category Director at Karo Healthcare, said: “We’re very proud to have been named the winner of Channel 4’s 2023 Diversity in Advertising Award with our brand E45. Thanks so much Channel 4 for giving us a platform to increase visibility of LGBTQIA+ communities in advertising. Congratulations to all the other shortlisted brands.

“E45’s mission is to help people feel comfortable in their skin and we hope that we can drive long term, positive change in public attitudes with this work. Thanks to our LGBTQIA+ team and allies at The&Partnership for their commitment and passion. Watch this space!”

The five runners up – Absolut (Ogilvy UK); The AA (The Gate London); Durex (Havas London); Bodyform (AMV BBDO); Snag (Dentsu Creative) – are offered the opportunity to secure match funding to get their entries on air. Channel 4 will match-fund airtime and digital and VOD Advertising investments up to £250,000. 

The annual Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award has so far given away more than £7 million worth of commercial airtime since it’s the first winning campaign aired in 2016. Previous themes have focused on disability, mental health, ethnicity and the portrayal of women in the media.

The judging panel met on national Coming Out Day and included returning judges from the Advertising Association, the IPA, Thinkbox, ISBA, and 4Creative. Providing authentic, lived experience and insight into this year’s theme, the panel also included asexual activist Yasmin Benoit plus representatives from Outvertising, charity Not A Phase, Anna Brent, Head of Growth & DEI at Across the Pond, and Channel 4’s LGBT+ staff network, 4Pride.

The Prize and the Match Fund Prizes are redeemable across the Channel 4 Portfolio between 1st May 2024 and 31st June 2024.

For further information:

Tim English at TEnglish@Channel4.co.uk

About the 2023 theme

Since Channel 4’s 2019 Diversity in Advertising Award invited brands to focus on LGBT+ representation, there has been zero growth in representation since then, with LGBTQIA+ communities continuing to appear in just 3% of UK TV adverts.

Although this figure aligns with the latest UK Census data which indicates that 3.2% of the UK population identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or ‘other sexual orientation’ (c. 1.5 million), 7.5% of the total population did not answer the sexual orientation question at all, rising to 10% among those who were from non-white ethnic backgrounds. Due to this, it is widely believed the census could vastly underestimate and misrepresent this proportion of the population which identifies as LGBTQIA+ due to a fear of disclosing sexuality and a lack of understanding within society.

The LGBTQIA+ definition has evolved since 2019, embracing and recognising a broader range of diversity, sexuality and identity. The 2023 Award brief encourages brands to mirror this by challenging advertisers and creative agencies to pitch an exceptional TV ad that best features and portrays LGBTQIA+ communities at the heart of their campaign, ultimately promoting the brand’s product or services. 

Last year’s competition focused on improving disability representation within TV advertising, with the winning campaign ‘Me & My Autism’ from Vanish and Havas going on to win a number of awards. Previous awards have also focussed on disability (Maltesers), mental health (Lloyds Bank), the portrayal of women in the media (RAF) the lack of representation and stereotyping of the LGBT+ community (Starbucks), Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Culture (EA Sports) and age representation (TENA). 

The Judging Panel

  • Veriça Djurdjevic (Chair of Judges), Chief Revenue Officer, Channel 4
  • Leila Siddiqi, Associate Director, Diversity, IPA
  • Maisie McCabe, UK Editor, Campaign
  • Sharon Lloyd-Barnes, Commercial Director, Advertising Association
  • Lindsey Clay, CEO, Thinkbox
  • Yasmin Benoit, Award-Winning Asexual Activist, Model, Writer & Speaker
  • Luke Cavalli, Co-Chair 4Pride
  • Lucifer Hepburn, Co-Chair 4Pride
  • Katie Jackson, Managing, Director 4Creative
  • Dani St James, Chief Executive, Not A Phase
  • Jerry Daykin, VP Head of Media, Volunteer Director, Outvertising
  • Anna Brent, Head of Growth & DEI, Across the Pond

View our past winners

Since 2016 we’ve given away over £6million of airtime to advertisers who best respond to our briefs. Check out their award-winning work here!

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