Portrayal of women in advertising focus for C4's 2018 diversity award

23 May 2018  |  Scarlett O'Donoghue 
Portrayal of women in advertising focus for C4's 2018 diversity award

Channel 4 today announced its Diversity in Advertising Award for 2018 will focus on the representation of women in advertising.

The award, which offers £1 million worth of commercial airtime to the winning creative idea, is asking ad creatives to create campaigns which challenge fixed stereotypes, objectification and sexualisation of women.

Although 2018 has seen a spotlight focused on gender pay gaps and the growth of the #MeToo movement, studies have revealed a wide range of issues - such as objectification and intelligence - when it comes to the representation of women in the media.

Unpacking Gender Bias in Advertising revealed that there are twice as many male characters in adverts than female characters; 25% of ads feature men only, while only 5% of ads feature women only.

The study also showed that one in ten female characters are shown in sexually revealing clothing - six times the number of men - and women are more likely to be shown in the kitchen while men are more likely to be at a sporting event.



"There are campaigns already on our screens which represent women in a positive and appropriate manner – but sadly there just aren’t enough of them," said Matt Salmon, Channel 4’s head of agency & client sales and commercial marketing.

"This year we’re looking for an ad that really stands out even from the positive ads we’ve seen before. We want a campaign that’s a beacon for the issue, an idea that calls out the challenges and makes a really positive statement to our audiences.

"The winning ad shouldn’t be representative of what the future ‘norm’ should be, it should act as a catalyst for the change in mindset we’d like to see within the industry."

The award focuses on a different area of diversity each year, and encourages the advertising industry to embrace inclusive campaigns and extend Channel 4’s leadership in diversity.

In 2017 the focus was on non-visible disabilities and was won by Lloyds Bank’s #GetTheInsideOut campaign which focused on mental health.

Finalists will pitch their ideas to a judging panel, chaired by Channel 4’s chief commercial officer Jonathan Allan, and the winner will be announced in September 2018. The competition’s runners up will have the opportunity to take up the offer of match-funded commercial airtime.

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17 Sep 2018 

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