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    Vanish wins Channel 4 diversity awards with pitch raising awareness of girls with autism

    Channel 4 has crowned Reckitt brand Vanish and its ad agency Havas as the winners of its annual diversity in advertising award, granting them £1m in free commercial airtime. 

    The 2022 brief encouraged brands to invest in an authentic portrayal of people with visible and non-visible disabilities. Channel 4 says that the brand and agency responded with “a powerful and moving idea, created in partnership with charity Ambitious about Autism, to help girls be seen as part of a broader public understanding of autism.”

    The awards, now in its seventh year, has grown with many forward-thinking brands chasing that free airtime and the opportunity to be a leading voice in diversity. It is the first time Channel 4 has revisited the Disability theme since 2016.

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    Cigdem Yildiz Kurtulus, marketing director, Reckitt Hygiene UK & Ireland, said: “We’re so happy to lead this mission with one of our loved brands, Vanish, with a positive and authentic campaign born out of our brand purpose to make clothes live longer. In doing so, we are delighted to work with Channel 4 to continue improving the representation of people with disabilities, visible or non-visible, in advertising.

    “However, we’re very conscious our work needs to go much further and make a real difference beyond our screens, so we’re committed to making this happen at all levels. We are honored to accept this award, in partnership with Havas London.”

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    Xavier Rees, UK group chief executive officer, Havas Creative, added: “It will be a privilege to partner with Reckitt, one of our largest clients, to spark a much-needed public conversation around autism in girls; a subject that’s incredibly close to my heart.”

    Seven brands were shortlisted in the competition: M&S (ODD Mindshare); Limitless Travel (Hearts & Minds); LinkedIn (VCCP); Sure (AMV BBDO); Vanish (Havas London); Moonpig (Creature London); and George at Asda (Impero). These brands are eligible for up to £250k of match-funded commercial airtime.

    The ad will be aired earlier next year. The brief was inspired by research claiming that only 4% of TV adverts in the UK feature disabled people (v 3% in 2020).

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