Channel 4 challenges advertising ageism with Diversity Awards
Research finds only 29 percent of TV ads feature characters over the age of 50, with just 12 percent in lead roles
15 July 2021
Channel 4’s annual Diversity in Advertising Award will this year challenge the advertising industry to address ageism – in particular, the inauthentic and sometimes clichéd portrayals of different age groups within UK advertising.
Channel 4 is inviting brands to modernise their representation of all age groups – from young to old - in a non-stereotypical way, whilst also demonstrating intersectionality of age with gender, sexuality, disability, or ethnicity.
The winning campaign will be awarded £1million of Channel 4 commercial advertising airtime.
Research commissioned by Channel 4 found TV ads in the UK to be primarily focussed on younger characters. Older people are often left out with 29 percent featuring characters over the age of 50 and only 12 percent of them cast in lead roles.
It also found that age representation differed between genders. Male characters are more likely to be older, while women are younger and often used for brand building. Older women meanwhile feel they are more likely to be portrayed in a stereotypical way.
Veriça Djurdjevic, Channel 4’s Chief Revenue Officer and Chair of Judges said: “Channel 4 has helped force the pace of change to improve authentic representation in TV advertising right across the diversity spectrum with this award. But we know from research that different age groups and diverse communities still don’t feel accurately represented in TV ads so there’s more work to do to encourage the industry to deliver inclusive advertising campaigns to our screens.
“We’re looking forward to seeing how the best creative teams in the industry respond to this year’s brief, helping more brands realise the creative and commercial benefits of embracing authentic portrayal of underrepresented groups in British society, and follow the success of our previous winners.”
Competition entries must be submitted by 4pm on 26 August. The winner and runners up will be announced in October with the campaign airing on Channel 4 in early 2022.