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Channel 4 announces 2023 Diversity in Advertising Award shortlist

There’s solid representation for Northern or Northern-represented brands and agencies on the shortlist for Channel 4’s £1 million 2023 Diversity in Advertising Award, which was announced this morning.

Among the agencies, Dentsu Creative, Ogilvy and The&Partnership all made the cut for their work with Snag, Absolut and E45 respectively. On the brands front, Essity, which has its UK consumer goods HQ in Manchester, gets the nod for its Bodyform campaigning alongside AMV BBDO and historic Hull firm Reckitt likewise for Havas London’s work with its Durex brand.

The shortlist in full is:

  • Absolut (Ogilvy UK)
  • The AA (The Gate London)
  • Durex (Havas London)
  • E45 (The&Partnership)
  • Bodyform (AMV BBDO)
  • Snag (Dentsu Creative)

Additionally, Channel 4 has recognised the creative strength of the entries and, for the first time ever, called upon all of the non-shortlisted brands and agencies to boldly support the ideas generated by investing in bringing their pitched campaign ideas to the screen.

This year Channel 4 is challenging the advertising industry to address the lack of authentic representation of LGBTQIA+ communities in TV advertising across the UK.

The 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.

The award challenges brands to authentically reflect the under-represented by being bold and ‘Proud All Over’, a nod to the broadcaster’s ongoing Pride campaign which shines a light on allyship in smaller regional communities.

Veriça Djurdjevic, chief revenue officer at Channel 4 and chair of the Diversity In Advertising Award judging panel said: “Diversity is a top priority for Channel 4 and since its inception our Diversity In Advertising Award has always pushed brands to explore new ways to be authentically inclusive in their advertising creatives, to better represent the UK population.

“The challenge we posed for this year’s award has been answered with our strongest field of entries ever. But whilst we are hugely excited to see the six shortlisted brands develop their ideas through the next stage of the competition, it would be a shame to see so many impactful campaign ideas fall by the wayside after so much effort, insight, creativity and expertise has been invested.

“So, for the first time ever, we are actively calling on the industry to follow-through with their creative ideas even if they haven’t been shortlisted for the main prize. Whilst this award scheme cannot financially support every campaign, we’re standing by to support brands and creative agencies in whatever way we can, to bring as many of these brilliant LGBTQIA+ campaigns as possible to the nation.”

The annual Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award has so far given away more than £8m-worth of commercial airtime, with previous award winners focussing on disability, mental health, ethnicity and the portrayal of women in the media.

This year the winning brand will receive £1m of video advertising space across Channel 4’s diverse portfolio of linear TV, streaming and Channel 4.0, its digital-first brand on YouTube. Additionally, the winning brand will have the opportunity to work with our market-leading social team, 4Studio, to create and launch a companion piece of social branded content worth a further £100k to the brand.

The six shortlisted brands will face an expert industry judging panel in October 2023, including returning judges from the Advertising Association, the IPA, Thinkbox, ISBA and 4Creative. Providing authentic, lived experience and insight into this year’s theme, the returning judges will be joined by asexual activist Yasmin Benoit plus representatives from Outvertising, charity Not A Phase and Channel 4’s LGBT+ staff network, 4Pride. The panel is also delighted to welcome Jack Rourke, the creator of hit Channel 4 comedy series, Big Boys.

The winning brand will be revealed in an announcement broadcast via 4Sales’ LinkedIn Live channel on the morning of Wednesday, October 18.

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