superhumans_channel_4Channel 4 has staked £1million of its commercial airtime as a prize in a major new initiative announced today to encourage brands and media and creative agencies to prominently feature disability and disabled talent in their advertising campaigns.

Launched as part of Channel 4’s Year of Disability, the £1million Superhumans Wanted prize will be awarded to the brand or agency which submits the strongest campaign idea – and their ad given an exclusive launch spot in the first break of the 2016 Rio Paralympics Games Opening Ceremony on Wednesday 7th September.

The competition, launched at Advertising Week Europe, extends the broadcaster’s far-reaching commitments to improving diversity on-and-off-screen beyond just its editorial content and into Channel 4’s important commercial airtime.

The Superhumans Wanted initiative aims to encourage UK advertisers to think differently about how they represent disability in their TV ad campaigns. In line with its remit, Channel 4 wants to work with the ad industry to improve diverse representation and challenge perceptions to help commercial airtime on television better reflect the diversity in Britain today.

The initiative launches ahead of Channel 4 broadcasting live coverage of the 2016 Paralympic Games in September – and the follow up to the multi-award winning Meet the Superhumans marketing campaign set to launch this summer.

This competition is all about encouraging the UK advertising industry to think differently about disability in all its forms. However, fundamentally the campaigns still need to demonstrate their ability to hit the brands original objectives. This is not about making an ad that ticks a box or fulfils a diversity target; Channel 4 is looking for strong brand creative that merges the capacity to push a clever sales message, whilst positively featuring disability or disabled talent.

The judges will be looking for campaign ideas that not only prominently feature disability or disabled talent, but that also integrate that disability into the fabric of the campaign itself. Judges will be keen to see campaigns that normalise disability, challenge misconceptions or make positive statements about disability. Campaigns which surprise or challenge the audience, and engage them in positive discussion and debate about disability will be welcomed.

The core campaign idea needs to be a 30-60 second TV spot, which will launch within the Paralympic Games opening ceremony on Channel 4. However, the judges will be keen to see how the campaign idea can live beyond that spot, elsewhere in the world of TV and also how it might translate through the rest of the media landscape.

The judging panel will be made up of key industry bodies and commentators including representatives from ISBA, The Voice of British Advertisers; the Advertising Association; Campaign magazine – alongside Channel 4 Board members and in-house creative agency, 4Creative.

Channel 4 announced in January that 2016 would be the broadcaster’s Year of Disability with major new commitments to boost on and off screen representation of disabled people. This will include doubling the number of disabled people appearing in 20 of Channel 4’s biggest shows – Gogglebox, The Island, Grand Designs, Hollyoaks and First Dates. £300k will be invested in new talent initiatives, with an off-screen commitment to progress the careers of 20 disabled people already working in the industry in Channel 4’s 20 biggest suppliers. Within Channel 4, 50% of all the broadcaster’s apprenticeships and 30 per cent of all its work experience placements will be ring fenced for disabled people.

The closing date for entries is Wednesday 25th May 2016 and the winning campaign will be announced on Thursday 9th June 2016.

Further details and how to enter are available on the 4 Sales website: http://channel4sales.com/advertising/superhumans/the-criteria/