SBS’ challenge to brands and creatives: show more diversity

On Australia Day, SBS will launch the Diversity Works Challenge – a competition for Australia’s creative minds to come up with an ad campaign that “truly demonstrates diversity”, with $1 million worth of airtime up for grabs.


Competitors will need to submit a script before March 31, which will then be judged by a panel of industry experts. Up to eight finalists will then pitch their idea to the panel, with the winner announced in May 2017. The winning advertisement will be given $1 million worth of advertising airtime across SBS platforms, which will begin airing before the end of the year.

SBS director of media sales Andrew Cook said SBS was issuing the challenge because the network wanted to speed up thinking about diversity.

“As a network, SBS exists to promote understanding and appreciation of diversity. We don’t only do this through the stories we explore across TV, radio and online – because of our unique Charter, it’s ingrained in all that we do,” he said.

In an opinion piece for Mumbrella today, Cook said SBS was seeking to make diversity more commonplace, and urged brands and agencies to look beyond their inner-city media bubbles.

We are starting to see some advertisers use diversity in their advertising campaigns. What’s interesting is that there is almost a cause for celebration whenever a client uses diversity. Why should this use of diversity be highlighted by the trade? When the fact is that reflecting the nation we all live in should just be an acceptable, normal part of how advertisers talk to Australians,” he said.

Cook said brands should be spending five to 10 per cent of their total spend on diversity to reach new audiences and build their customer base.


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