The E45 brand and its agency, The&Partnership, have emerged as the victors in Channel 4’s 2023 Diversity in Advertising Award, which boasts a prize of £1 million. This campaign stood out among six finalists, all of whom tackled the pressing issue of the inadequate and genuine portrayal of LGBTQIA+ communities in television advertising across the UK.

A panel consisting of 13 members, comprising leaders from the advertising sector and representatives from the LGBTQI+ community, made the choice to endorse E45 and The&Partnership’s campaign proposal from the shortlisted contenders.

The campaign is set to be produced and broadcast in 2024, benefitting from £1 million worth of complimentary advertising space across Channel 4’s portfolio. Additionally, it will receive an extra £100,000 in social media exposure, which includes £40,000 for social production from Channel 4’s in-house digital content creation department, 4Studio, and £60,000 in visibility on Channel 4’s social media platforms.

The theme for this year’s competition arose from a pioneering study commissioned by Channel 4 and 4Sales, which disclosed that brands had started shying away from featuring LGBTQIA+ communities due to concerns about potential backlash.

Veriça Djurdjevic, Chief Revenue Officer at Channel 4 and chair of the Diversity In Advertising Award judging panel, commented:

“The standard of the campaigns in this year’s awards was simply outstanding, probably the strongest entries we’ve ever had. The brands and their agencies presented the judging panel with a delightful conundrum, but E45 and The&Partnership just clinched it, and I’m eager to witness their campaign materialise and observe the impact it makes.

“There was a palpable sentiment among the judges that we would love to see all the ideas come to fruition on air. I would encourage all the finalists to see their pitches through and transform their campaigns into reality, and to take us up on our offer of match funding.”

The five runners-up – Absolut (Ogilvy UK); The AA (The Gate London); Durex (Havas London); Bodyform (AMV BBDO); Snag (Dentsu Creative) – have been extended the opportunity to secure matching funds to air their entries. Channel 4 is ready to match-fund airtime and digital and VOD advertising investments up to £250,000.

The annual Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award has, to date, awarded more than £8 million in commercial airtime. Past themes have centred around disability, mental health, ethnicity, and the depiction of women in the media.

The judging panel featured familiar faces from the Advertising Association, the IPA, Thinkbox, ISBA, and 4Creative. Alongside this, authentic experiences and insights into this year’s theme were provided by the panel, which included asexual activist Yasmin Benoit, as well as representatives from Outvertising, the charity Not A Phase, and Channel 4’s LGBT+ staff network, 4Pride. Jack Rourke, the creator of the popular Channel 4 comedy series, Big Boys, was also part of the panel.

The triumphant brand will be unveiled in a live announcement broadcasted via 4Sales’ LinkedIn Live channel on the morning of Wednesday, 18th October 2023, at 10 am.