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Michaela Jefferson 

PrideAM announces judges for LGBT ad competition

PrideAM announces judges for LGBT ad competition

A host of well-established industry names will be joining the judging panel of this year's Pride Brand Makeover, launched by PrideAM in June.

The free-to-enter competition asks adland to reimagine a mainstream advertising campaign for a LGBT+ audience, highlighting the debate around diversity and inclusion in advertising.

Brands compete to win £100,000 of free media space with Gay Times magazine and, according judge Harjot Singh, chief strategy offer for McCann Worldgroup EMEA, "the only way to win is to earn your right to belong in people's lives and worlds."

“In order to be truly meaningful, brands have to credibly demonstrate both awareness and authenticity in their expression and their actions as they navigate a more multi-faceted, diverse and informed world than ever before," he said.

"I believe it is time for us to acknowledge and applaud brands that set examples by representing and including LGBTQ in a way that enriches that culture – our culture. This is a massive opportunity for brands because of the creative and commercial potential embedded in getting it right.”

Also confirmed to judge the competition is Stephen Woodford, the Advertising Association's CEO; Chaka Sobhani, chief creative officer at Leo Burnett London; James Bates, marketing planning and strategy manager for John Lewis; Rachel Reese, CEO of Global Butterflies, and James Frost, CEO of Gay Times.

"I will be looking for work that not only connects with LGBT+ audiences in a credible and creative way, but also works for wider audiences and makes them think better of the brand," said Woodford.

"Last year’s work, The Army, is one that has stayed in my mind and I look forward to seeing this year’s entries - and hopefully another step up in the quantity and quality of campaigns.”

Meanwhile, John Lewis' James Bates said he will be looking for an idea that goes "beyond stereotypes" and "[feels] authentic to the people you're representing."

"I suspect that for lots of people, the world feels like a complicated place at the moment. There are communities within LGBT+ that feel this more than most - and brands are in a great place to either address this directly, or at least acknowledge it for their customers and the public," he said.

Elsewhere, Chaka Sobhani of Leo Burnett London added: "Seeing inclusive work that reflects the diversity of a modern society couldn’t feel more important than it does right now, and I’m hoping to see work that is proud to disrupt, be seen and make people re-think.”

For more information about the competition, see the PrideAM website.

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