Channel 4

Brands fight against online abuse in Together Against Hate

Online abuse is a real and growing problem. We brought 3 brands together to fight against online abuse received by real people in their advertising.

The Big Idea

Since 2017, Nationwide have championed real, diverse people in their advertising.  However when they saw the level of online hate directed at these everyday people, they felt it was time to speak up.

A staggering 41% of young adults have seen racist abuse and 37% have seen homophobic abuse bullying or harassment online. This was not acceptable.


Only by breaking the silence can we attempt to tackle what is becoming a growing societal problem." - Sara Bennison, CMO Nationwide.

Making it Happen

Channel 4 know the power of TV to drive impact at scale, and our commitment to diversity and ‘Born Risky’ attitude made us the choice partner to air this powerful campaign. The idea was simple, galvanise others who champion diversity to work alongside Nationwide to take this behaviour from the shadows and broadcast it front and centre to the nation. We wanted to shine a light on the scale of the problem, prick public consciousness and spark conversation about what and wasn’t acceptable to say online.

McCain’s and Maltesers bravely agreed to collaborate on the project. Using C4’s creative approach PL4Y, we created an ad break takeover featuring a selection of genuine online hate received by real people, showcased during an ad break of Gogglebox.

Each brand’s advert was treated with a powerful and bespoke overlay designed to visually demonstrate the core of the abuse, along with quotes of real online abuse individuals had received. The Nationwide ad featured racial abuse with an effect simulating mould, the Maltesers ad featured disability abuse with a digital distortion overlay; whilst McCain’s featured homophobia with a cracked glass overlay. The diversity of the three ads allowed us to powerfully highlight online abuse across a wide spectrum of issues.

A Channel 4 continuity announcer introduced the ad-break and set up its agenda. The outro encouraged viewers to question why online abuse isn’t taken as seriously as face-to-face hate. We worked with the charity Cybersmile to source powerful statistics around online abuse displayed as interstitials and throughout, viewers were able to join the debate on social using the hashtag #TogetherAgainstHate.

The conversation continued outside of TV with influencers posting about their experience of online abuse with the hashtag #togetheragainsthate and brand ambassadors from Nationwide and McCains joined a special report week hosted on LBC to talk about online hate and the campaign.

The ad-break reached 2.8m adults
Marketing Week awarded us 2018 Campaign of the Year, with over 70% of the public vote

The Results

The ad-break reached 2.8m adults and ranked the highest the Core4 panel has ever seen for “stand out”, “shock” and “instigating a positive change in behaviour”.

We trended #1 on Twitter with an outpouring of shock and support for the cause, generating PR coverage from 15 national outlets.

The campaign initiated an overwhelming response within Nationwide’s own 18,000-strong workforce, who praised their marketing colleagues bravery.

Marketing Week awarded us 2018 Campaign of the Year, achieving over 70% of the public vote

What’s next?

Nationwide remain committed to celebrating diversity. They have spearheaded work with ISBA to publish guidelines for brands experiencing similar behaviour, and are exploring what phase 2 of #TogetherAgainstHate will bring.