Bell and ICA’s new IDEA for diversity and inclusion

Bell Media and the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA) have partnered on a new advertising competition honouring work celebrating diversity and inclusion.

The Inclusivity Diversity and Equity in Advertising (IDEA) competition will reward the campaign idea that best demonstrates a “clear message” of diversity and inclusion with $1 million worth of media inventory across Bell Media’s TV, digital, radio and OOH properties.

In a release, the two organizations said that the competition will be judged by a panel of diverse judges, and honour “ground-breaking work that celebrates diversity through advertising.” The program is similar to the Diversity in Advertising Award, a program developed by U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 that feature a prize of £1 million of airtime on the network.

ICA president and CEO Scott Knox said that judging for the IDEA competition will take into account not just the creative product, but how it fits within the submitting companies’ broader efforts around diversity and inclusion. Entries must be new creative executions, with diverse producers, directors, writers, and crew making a “significant” contribution to the idea beyond the on-camera talent.

Entrants must also demonstrate that diversity and inclusion are components across all of their advertising, even when not the key message, while additional consideration will also be given to entrants that include mentorship opportunities as part of their production.

“It’s not just a round of applause for a pretty campaign,” said Knox. “We wanted this to be deeper, so that it’s entrenched in both the agency and the brand’s approach to diversity and inclusion.”

The IDEA competition reflects the fact that diversity and inclusion is not just a global business imperative, but a “growth-driving narrative” for brands, he said.

The competition builds on the broader IDEA initiative launched by the ICA in 2017. Bell Media was among the early supporters of the program, including participating in the ICA’s IDEA Summit around the theme of “How diversity of thought leads to powerful storytelling” at TIFF in 2018.

“We are committed to creating meaningful change in our industry, and this competition aims to encourage greater representation of diverse communities in Canadian media,” said outgoing Bell Media president Randy Lennox in a release. “We have been working to create a new roadmap for the industry, one that recognizes the added value of BIPOC presence and expertise, and the IDEA completion is one more opportunity to showcase the value of inclusion.” 

Entry details for IDEA will be announced in November, with the winner announced later this winter.

Chris Powell