Major new partnership also includes brand new social series Picture This, bespoke TV sponsorship starring top Black British comedians first time usage, of the new Google Pixel 6 phone and contextual ad campaign
Channel 4 has partnered with Google Pixel for the first time for a new branded entertainment show, Highlife, the four-part Black British premium ‘docu-ality’ series for Channel 4.
Highlife launches on 10th September, coinciding with Channel 4’s Black to Front Project - an ambitious day of programming that will see Channel 4's entire programming schedule fronted by Black talent.
Co-produced by CR8TIVE ROW and Optomen, Highlife follows the lives and loves of a group of ambitious, glamorous young British West Africans all chasing their own idea of success. It showcases a community where high family expectations often impact career choices, relationships and even friendship groups. The reality-documentary series is an aspirational, but utterly relatable, authentic portrayal of British life.
The exclusive deal represents one of Channel 4’s biggest ever branded entertainment led partnerships and the first time Google has partnered with a broadcaster in this way, in the UK.
In addition, Google Pixel has funded a five-part branded entertainment social series for the show titled Picture This, by Luti Media, brokered by Essence. The series will shine a light on the Highlife cast and how their relationships, life stages and culture have an impact on the world. It also includes the first real glimpses of the brand-new Google Pixel 6 phone, which has a range of brand-new camera features that allow for photos to look and feel more authentic.
The partnership also includes a set of bespoke TV sponsorship idents that will feature around Highlife starring top Black British comedians - Kojo Anim, Lola Jagun and A Dot - sharing their authentic reactions and excitement about the show. The creative aims to reflect the excitement felt by Black Britain’s who will see an all-black cast portrayed in an unashamedly positive way, in the first UK show of its kind.
Alongside the Idents there will also be four bespoke contextual ads featuring the Highlife cast members - Bernicia, Cuppy, Kidd and Chiefer - using C4’s ‘Faces of 4’ format. The creative sees them being asked a series of questions about their lives and culture to allow the audience to find out more about each of the cast members, whilst also aligning their lifestyles to one of the new Google Pixel 6 features. Truly celebrating both the new show and the new Google phone.
The partnership was brokered by OMD UK, Essence and Channel 4’s commercial arm, 4Sales. OMD UK led on the original concept development and provided supporting offline media amplification. DRUM led the overall deal and creative for idents, contextual ads working closely with Luti Media the production house to bring them to life.
Sophie Lloyd, Branded Entertainment and Creative Leader at Channel 4 said: “Highlife is testament to the fantastic collaboration and hard work of all those involved in the scale and integrated nature of this exclusive partnership. We’re excited to finally share this incredible series alongside Google Pixel, coinciding with Channel 4’s Black to Front Project and reflecting the cultural diversity of Britain on-screen in a positive way”.
Laura Fenton, CEO OMD UK said: “At OMD UK we have huge ambitions to reach and represent Real Britain in the media solutions we develop for our clients, driven by our Diversity by Design planning process. Google UK are at the forefront of this inclusive approach and we’re so proud to partner with them, Channel 4, Drum and Essence to bring viewers this standout branded entertainment that will showcase the Pixel in all its glory.”
Claire Baker, Global Creative Director at DRUM said: "It's been incredible to work on such a ground-breaking project and bring the same ideals from the Highlife show into the idents and contextual ads. Diversity and inclusion in advertising has improved but still has a long way to go, we’re proud to be pushing this with Google."
Laura Wade, VP Content + Innovation at Essence said: "We strive to be at the forefront of media innovation to help brands grow and thrive. It's brilliant to see leading agencies and brands collaborating on this ground-breaking social-first entertainment campaign."
Channel 4 partnered with Google Pixel to create Highlife, and the series was commissioned by Vivienne Molokwu for Channel 4. Stella Onuorah brokered the deal on behalf of 4Sales.
Channel 4 is the number one branded social content partner in the UK across all platforms and categories and is the only UK broadcaster to offer a slate of social-first branded entertainment opportunities to clients and advertisers for publication right across its quality, brand-safe, social channels – including Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, and All 4.