Valenstein & Fatt and Volvo win £1m worth of Channel 4 airtime to showcase diverse ad

Maltesers won Channel 4's 2016 'Superhumans Wanted' competition

Volvo and Valenstein & Fatt (aka Grey London) have been named the winners of Channel 4's annual 'Diversity in Advertising Award'.

An ad created for the brand by the London-based shop will receive £1m worth of airtime in the autumn as part of Channel 4's push to improve diversity in advertising every year until 2020.

Earlier in 2017 the broadcaster announced it would offer advertisers a significant amount of free commercial airtime in exchange for an ad focused around a non-visible disability, such as autism, Alzheimer’s or deafness.

Valenstein & Fatt beat off competition from seven other brands including Marks & Spencer, Bose and Ford, with the ad being cherry-picked from a panel of industry judges. As well as awarding the winners, Channel 4 will also offer the other six finalists match-funded commercial airtime if they produce the creative ideas which secured them a place in the final.

Jonathan Allan, Channel 4's sales director said: “We set a really tough brief this year – putting non-visible disabilities at the heart of a campaign – and judging from the range, creativity and sheer quality of the finalists’ ideas, there’s a wealth of opportunity for advertisers and their creative teams to explore in this area.

"It was yet again an incredibly emotional and uplifting experience to judge the finalists’ pitches and each of them deserved their place at the table. We hope that everyone will think a little harder about all aspects of diversity when creating their advertising as a result of this competition."

Each year, the Diversity in Advertising Award will focus on a different area of diversity to encourage the industry to embrace inclusive campaigns.

Last year during the Rio Paralympics the network awarded £1m worth of airtime to Mars, which ran a Maltesers campaign. The 'Look on the Light Side' spots featured three ads all inspired by real-life stories from disabled people, with the brand crediting it as its most successful push in 10 years.

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum. Based in London, she writes news, analysis and features around brand marketing and digital innovation. She has interviewed key figures from the likes of Airbnb, Amnesty International, Unilever, Facebook and Spotify, as well as covering international events like Ad Week Europe, Dmexco and Ciclope.

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