Channel 4 is to giveaway £1 million of its commercial airtime to encourage brands and agencies to feature disability and disabled talent in their advertising campaigns.
Launched as part of the broadcaster’s Year of Disability, the Superhumans Wanted prize will be awarded to the brand or agency which submits the strongest campaign idea – with the winning ad given an exclusive launch spot in the first break of the 2016 Rio Paralympics Games Opening Ceremony on Friday 7 September.
The initiative was unveiled at Ad Week Europe, where Channel 4 said it wants UK advertisers to “think differently” about how they represent disability in their TV ad campaigns.
“The aim is to help inspire agencies and clients to think about what they can do to champion disability,” said Jonathan Allan, C4 sales director.
“By us putting some serious skin in the game through giving away this significant amount of TV airtime, we hope to encourage the best creative ideas from our ad partners that will resonate with all our viewers and challenge perceptions of disability, just as our Meet the Superhumans campaign did in 2012.”
The judging panel will be made up of key industry bodies and commentators including representatives from ISBA, the Advertising Association and Campaign magazine – alongside Channel 4 Board members and in-house creative agency, 4Creative.
In January, Channel 4 announced that 2016 would see it invest in major new commitments to boost on and off screen representation of disabled people – including doubling the number of disabled people appearing in 20 of Channel 4’s biggest shows.
Additionally, £300,000 will be invested in new talent initiatives; and within Channel 4, half of all the broadcaster’s apprenticeships and 30% of all its work experience placements will be ring-fenced for disabled people.
The closing date for entries is 25 May 2016 and the winning campaign will be announced on 9 June 2016.