Channel 4 awards £1m Diversity In Advertising prize to Starbucks and Iris

Category: News Release

Channel 4 has named Starbucks and its creative agency, Iris, as the winner of its annual £1m Diversity in Advertising Award, which this year tasked entrants to focus on the lack of representation and stereotyping of the LGBT+ community in advertising.

The brand will receive £1m worth of commercial advertising for its winning campaign which will air on Channel 4 from February 2020.

Highly commended were Screwfix and Wavemaker with their campaign on LGBT+ workers in the construction industry. Other contenders shortlisted for the prize were Virgin Media and Adam&Eve, Snickers and AMV BBDO, CALM and Adam&Eve, Coca Cola and Epoch Design, and and Adam&Eve.

This is the fourth instalment of Channel 4’s Diversity in Advertising Award, which recognises the best creative idea focused on diversity. This year’s theme was chosen to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and from the findings of the world's biggest study* into inclusivity of TV Advertising, commissioned by Channel 4 and YouGov.

The study found that the LGBT+ community featured in 3% of ads despite making up at least 6% of the population.

Jonathan Allan, Channel 4 Chief Commercial Officer and Chair of Judges says: “Diversity is at the heart of everything we do at Channel 4 and we are determined to drive lasting positive change in TV advertising.

“When it comes to LGBT+ representation in advertising, visibility has increased but as our research finds, LGBT+ people are still underrepresented or portrayed negatively. That is why this ground-breaking campaign by Starbucks stood out and we can’t wait to work with them to bring their winning idea to air.

“As all the pitches were so strong, we’re particularly excited this year to work alongside all the other shortlisted brands to further help LGBT+ representation in commercial airtime and we’re hoping that as many as possible take advantage of our £250k match funding offer.”

In addition to the winner, Channel 4 will also match-fund runner-up campaigns with commercial airtime worth £250,000.

Neil Littler, Starbucks Marketing & Product Director, says: “Starbucks is proud to have a long history of creating inclusive and welcoming places for the LGBT+ community. We have collaborated with IRIS London on a creative campaign that tells a powerful story for the LGBT+ community, and furthers a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity in our stores. We are honored to win this award and look forward to telling our story on Channel 4.” 

Sanjay Sood-Smith, Executive Director of Workplace and Community Programmes at Stonewall, says: “Congratulations to Starbucks on winning the Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award! Representation is so important, especially for the LGBT community who continue to be underrepresented or misrepresented in mainstream media. That’s why it’s great to see the media and advertising industry starting to address this gap, supported by initiatives like this award.

“Greater and more diverse representation of LGBT people ensures all people see themselves reflected in what they see around them and helps increase understanding and acceptance of the diversity of the LGBT community.”

Grant Hunter, Iris’ Executive Creative Director, Europe commented: “In a challenging cultural climate, with evidence of intolerance against the LGBT+ community on the rise, we’re delighted that the judges have selected our idea. Now, more than ever, we need to open the conversation around inclusion and diversity. This is a defining moment for Starbucks as it’s the first time a piece of film for broadcast has been created by the brand, specifically for a UK audience.”

The 2019 judging panel made up of leading figures from both the advertising and LGBT+ industry included: Jonathan Allan, Chief Commercial Officer, Channel 4 (Chair of Judges); Global Editor-in-Chief of Campaign, Claire Beale; Lindsey Clay, CEO, Thinkbox; Jane English, Creative Director, 4Creative; Karen Fraser, Strategy Director, Advertising Association; Sarah Garrett MBE, CEO at SPM Group and Founder of British LGBT Awards; Gemma Greaves, CEO Marketing Society; Channel 4; Eoin McLaughlin, Creative Director, 4Creative; Yasir Mirza, Head of Inclusion & Diversity at Channel 4; Leila Siddiqi, Head of Diversity, IPA; Sanjay Sood-Smith, Executive Director of Stonewall; Hollyoaks actress, Annie Wallace; Angus Wyatt, Chair 4Pride,

Last year’s award was won by the RAF and creative agency Engine for their campaign which challenged the portrayal of women in advertising. Previous competitions have focused on disability (Maltesers and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO) and mental health (Lloyds Bank and adam&eve/DBB).



Notes to editor

*Channel 4’s sales house, 4Sales, commissioned the world’s biggest study in to diversity representation in TV ads, analysing 1,000 television adverts over a two-month period, to discover how minority groups are actually being portrayed.  The research discovered that LGBT+ people hardly appear in adverts and can be stereotyped or portrayed negatively.