Channel 4 drive for better LGBT representation in advertising

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Channel 4 has announced the results of research into LGBT representation (John Walton/PA)

Channel 4 has called for better representation of the LGBT community in TV advertising.

The broadcaster has claimed, following a study, that LGBT people are rarely portrayed – and when they are it is often in tokenistic or in stereotyped ways.

A study undertaken by YouGov for Channel 4’s sales arm found that just 3% of surveyed adverts feature members of the LGBT community, which makes up around 6% of the UK population.

It was also found that viewers overestimate representation at around 22%.

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Channel 4 will award £1 million of air time (Victoria Jones/PA)

Focus groups consulted as part of the survey found LGBT representation in adverts to exclude bisexual and transgender people.

There were also concerns arising in Channel 4’s research that adverts centred on same-sex couples rather than bisexual, gender fluid and transgender people.

Matt Salmon, Channel 4’s head of agency and client sales, said: “Our study, and the focus groups we conducted alongside it, showed that despite the lip service paid to diversity, there’s still a long way to go before we have authentic representation in television ads.

“Channel 4 is determined to drive change in this area and we particularly want to challenge advertisers to up their game in the representation of people from the LGBT+ community.”

To change this, Channel 4 has announced it will dedicate its £1 million Diversity in Advertising Award to tackling LGBT representation.

Research conducted for 4Sales found that focus groups felt adverts relied on images of the butch lesbian or the camp gay man.

Around 60% of those surveyed in focus groups felt that the portrayal of LGBT people in adverts was negative, and they were rarely shown as part of a family unit.

The Diversity In Advertising Award gives support to a winning creative idea which tackles an issue of diversity in advertising, this year with the focus on the LGBT community.

In addition to £1 million worth of commercial airtime to the winner, Channel 4 will also offer to match-fund a maximum four runners-up campaigns with £250,000.

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