Winner of competition to improve ethnic diversity in advertising

10 February 2020

City Hall and Transport for London (TfL) have announced that hosiery brand Nubian Skin’s ‘A Different Kind of Nude’ campaign has won a major advertising competition and £500,000-worth of prominent advertising space on the TfL network. 

Now in its second year, the diversity in advertising competition is designed to tackle tokenism, combat stereotypes and make advertising in London more representative of the capital’s rich ethnic diversity. Working with TfL’s media partners, Global and JCDecaux UK, the competition called on brands to create adverts that offered authentic portrayals of London’s Black and Minority Ethnic communities.

London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, with 40 per cent of its population identifying as Black, Asian or minority ethnic. However, while there has been improvement in the visibility of people from varying ethnic backgrounds in adverts, more than 60 per cent of adverts still feature only or majority white people*. Concerningly, studies have shown that where ethnic minority representation exists, communities do not always feel those portrayals are relatable or realistic.

The competition follows research carried out by Lloyds Banking Group, in 2018, that revealed 34 per cent of Black people and 30 per cent of people from mixed ethnic backgrounds they felt they were inaccurately portrayed in advertising.

Nubian Skin’s winning campaign, which challenges assumptions surrounding the word ‘nude’ in the fashion industry, was chosen due to its bold and inclusive imagery which embraced a range of ages and body types as well as skin tones. The brand was also commended for the genuine practical needs its products were created to meet. For many women of colour, finding suitable skin tone hosiery and lingerie had not been an option, but Nubian Skin aims to redefine ‘nude’ and encourages women and men of all ethnicities to feel included and appreciated.

Following entries from brands and advertising agencies, the submissions were reviewed by a panel of judges comprised of advertising and media industry experts and City Hall and TfL representatives. The judges were specifically looking out for a campaign to act as a catalyst to change perceptions and drive change in the industry.

As the winning entry, Nubian Skin has been awarded £500,000-worth of prominent advertising space across the TfL network, including space on the digital screens at Canary Wharf and across the JCDecaux UK digital bus shelter network. Their campaign was developed and shot by an in-house team.

Community football programme Grassroots for Good was awarded the runner-up prize of up to £50,000 worth of digital advertising space for their campaign which celebrates the power of grassroots sport, it will go on display across the TfL network later this year.

Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Debbie Weekes-Bernard said: “London’s greatest strength it its diversity but for too long, the advertising industry has been reluctant to represent the varying backgrounds and identities of its consumers in all their rich complexity. I am delighted to announce Nubian Skin as the winner of this year’s competition and hope their eye-catching campaign encourages other businesses to see the benefits of embracing our diversity in their adverts. They have clearly shown how empowering adverts can be when diversity is central to their development and not simply an after-thought.”

Ade Hassan, Founder & CEO of Nubian Skin, said: “It’s such an honour to have won this competition. As a small, London-based business it is incredible to know that we will be featured across the TFL system, which in itself carries every day a great representation of the diversity present in London. This campaign is particularly important to me because I feel advertising has a very one-dimensional view of what blackness means, and this allows us to give a broader snap shot of what being black means to different people.”

Chris Macleod, Director of Customer and Revenue at TfL, said: “It was exciting to judge the wide range of brilliant entries into our advertising competition, working with the Mayor and our advertising partners, as well as our expert judges. Congratulations to the winner, Nubian Skin, as well as the runners-up for their creative approaches to better representing people from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in marketing campaigns. I hope this campaign, along with the others, acts as a catalyst to encourage widespread positive change throughout the industry.”

Vanessa Kingori, Publishing Director, British Vogue, said: “Advertising and its high visibility has a big impact on our lives. At its best, it reflects society in all its diversity, and can shape it. But sadly, all too often we’ve seen Black and Minority Ethnic communities completely misrepresented or not represented at all. I hope brands are inspired by this competition to think more about the adverts they are creating and the authenticity of stories they are telling.”

Andrew Jordan, Partnership Director, JCDecaux UK said: “We are delighted to support this initiative, which aims to reflect the uniquely diverse communities of the Capital, on the streets of London itself. By showcasing authentic portrayals of Londoners on our Digital Out-of-Home screens, the campaign will celebrate diversity and instil pride in communities while they shop, travel and socialise throughout the day.”

Notes to editors

For images and videos email [email protected]

*Lloyds Banking Group’s ‘Ethnicity in Advertising’ report can be viewed here - https://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/globalassets/documents/our-group/responsibility/ethnicity-in-advertising/lloyds_banking_group-ethnicity_in_advertising_vfr.pdf

 The list of competition judges was as follows:

-          Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement

-          Leah Kreitzman, Mayoral Director, External and International Affairs

-          Chris Macleod, Director of Customer and Revenue, Transport for London

-          Vanessa Kingori, Publishing Director, British Vogue

-          Leila Sidiqqi, Associate Director, Diversity, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising

-          Claire Beale, Global Editor-In-Chief, Campaign

-          Elizabeth Uviebinené, Columnist and co-author of ‘Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible’

-          Staynton Brown, Director for Diversity and Inclusion, Transport for London

-          Ete Davies, Chief Executive Officer - Creative Division, ENGINE

-          Dayoung Yun, Creative Director, R/GA

The competition is the latest move from City Hall to encourage more positive and inclusive advertising campaigns.

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