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Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award sets BAME representation challenge


By John McCarthy | Media editor

August 19, 2020 | 4 min read

Since 2016, Channel 4 has actively enticed brands to up the representation of diverse groups in advertising with £1m's worth of airtime for the best spot that meets its annual brief.

Lloyds' competition winner in 2017

Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award sets BAME representation challenge

The broadcaster has just announced the latest iteration of the competition, unleashed during a not-so routine 2020. The Drum explores what's different this year, and what entrants can expect from the Diversity in Advertising Award.

What is the competition

  • Channel 4 has been on a mission to catalyse an "authentic portrayal in TV advertising" of diverse groups. This year BAME communities are the focus after previous themes such as disability (Maltesers), mental health (Lloyds Bank pictured above), the portrayal of women in the media (RAF) and the LGBTQ+ community (Starbucks).

  • Research commissioned by 4Sales found that more than half of BAME people say TV advertising does not represent different cultures well, nearly two thirds (62%) say that it does not represent black and brown culture well (vs 41% white people). However, two thirds say they’d feel more positive about any brand that showcases different cultures in their advertising. It is this final point Channel 4 makes its argument on, this diverse group wants to be included and marketed to.

  • A panel of judges will award the £1m prize to the brand and agency considered to have pitched the strongest campaign idea. In addition, the panel will select five runners up who Channel 4 will offer £250k of match funded commercial airtime.

  • Matt Salmon, sales director, Channel 4, outlined that the term BAME "is imperfect, covering a range of different experiences and that the issues of representation and inclusion for different BAME communities are not homogenous." However, he beleives there is a lack of authenticity and a mis representation in the portrayal of these cultures across TV advertising. "The industry isn’t moving fast enough on this issue."

  • Competition entries must be submitted by midnight 30 September. The winner and runners up will be announced in November with the campaign airing on Channel 4 in early 2021.

Watch previous winners

LGBTQ+ 2019: Starbucks

Read more here.

Sexism 2018: RAF

Read more here.

Mental health 2017: Lloyds

Read more here.

Disability 2016: Maltesers

Read more here.

And finally, for any brands looking to enter the mix next year, The Drum has compiled a guide on how to win the prestigious fund.

Advertising Channel 4 Marketing & the Marginalized

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