Volvo has expressed disappointment after its creative agency Grey London was found to have submitted an unapproved advert to Channel 4’s annual 'Diversity in Advertising’ competition. As a result, the auto brand has walked away from the £1m worth of free airtime the broadcaster had awarded.
The competition offered the airtime on the basis that the winning ad focused around a non-visible disability. Grey’s submission for Volvo was announced as the winner in July after being selected over entries from seven other brands, including Marks & Spencer, Bose and Ford.
However, Volvo has since claimed it had not approved the ad created by Grey.
In a statement, a spokesperson said: “On this occasion, Grey London submitted an entry to the Channel 4 competition that had not previously been shared with us, nor approved for production. We are disappointed that this situation has arisen but will continue to develop our Human Made campaign, ensuring diversity remains a key pillar.”
Grey has been the brand’s global creative agency for the past four years and developed the highly praised ‘Human Made’ campaign, which profiles “defiant pioneers” in a bid to “position the brand as a people-centric one.”
Volvo said it was “proud” that diversity was a core theme within that wider campaign, which “aligns” its brand values.
The concept for the ad which had been submitted to the competition has not yet been revealed.
A Grey London spokesperson confirmed it had withdrawn from the Diversity in Advertising Award.
“It’s an incredible initiative and we wish the next iteration of it every success," the said. "As an agency we are fully committed to greater diversity, as is our Volvo client, and we will continue to both drive and support the industry’s efforts.”
The agency declined to comment further.
A Channel 4 spokesperson said: "We're disappointed that Grey London and Volvo decided not to take forward their campaign and we will now be working with the judges to discuss the next steps."