Channel 4

Signed Ad Break

Channel 4 partnered with seven advertisers to deliver the most accessible ad break in history, with each ad fully signed by deaf artist and actor David Ellington.

The Big Idea

David uniquely interacts with each ad throughout the break: for Allianz’s trail for their Dare to Believe All 4 Shorts he dons the Team GB training gear, while he opts for the more formal tuxedo in the British Gas ad featuring Wilbur the Penguin. David channels the lip-syncing dog from Flash Cleaner’s latest Queen inspired-ad, before finding his work is already done during one of Maltesers’ latest Look on the Light Side ads, developed in response to them winning Channel 4’s £1m Superhumans Wanted competition to encourage brands to feature disability in their adverts.

For Nationwide, David takes on the role of cupcake salesman, and in O2’s latest ad with NSPCC, some oversized headwear and a blue suit is his preferred outfit choice. Samsung’s ad featuring Jack Whitehall and Paralympians Ellie Simmonds and Susie Rodgers sees David take the plunge and slip on a swimming cap and trunks.

Jonathan Allan, Sales Director at Channel 4 said: “Following the hugely positive audience feedback from our opening Paras themed ad-break and the Maltesers ads, we’re incredibly excited to continue our story through this industry first, with our Superhumans ad star David signing an entire ad-break for our viewers with hearing loss which we think all our viewers will enjoy. Developed through PL4Y, this truly original ad-break takes an important step to improving access to all our content and to inspire advertisers through our activation of the Paralympic Games.”

The ad break was produced with the support of the charities Action on Hearing Loss and the Royal National Institute of Blind People – and each brand featured gave a donation to these charities.

This new integrated creative approach builds on 4Sales’ industry leading reputation for innovative, creative solutions

Making it Happen

David Steadman, Executive Director for Fundraising and Marketing at Action on Hearing Loss said: “There are currently 11 million of people in the UK living with hearing loss and we are very encouraged to see the innovative steps that Channel 4 is taking to ensure that everyone is included. Action on Hearing Loss is very happy to offer its support and expertise to this important project, inspiring both viewers and advertisers, and hopefully paving the way for more accessible content.”

Steve Tyler, Head of Solutions, Strategy and Planning at RNIB, said: “RNIB welcomes the positive, inspirational messages accompanying the 2016 Paralympics and is delighted that Channel 4 has produced an entirely audio described advert break. Audio description enables blind and partially sighted viewers to access and enjoy TV programmes and we hope more broadcasters will take up the challenge of providing improved AD content for adverts and programme trails.”

The hash tag #C4ParalympicAds will be featured on screen at the start and throughout the ad break.

The Results

This innovative ad break follows the broadcast of a special Paralympic-themed break during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio Paralympic Games which exclusively launched Channel 4’s £1m Superhumans Wanted winning Maltesers ads alongside adverts from Sainsbury’s, Samsung and Nissan.

The signed break was led by Charlotte Rowland, Creative Strategist and Michelle Pierre, Campaign and Projects Manager at Channel 4, working with agency partners Carat (British Gas), Havas Media (Nationwide and O2), MediaCom (Allianz), Starcom MVG (Flash Cleaner and Samsung) and ZenithOptimedia (Maltesers).

4Sales’ in-house creative arm PL4Y was responsible for the ad break’s conception. This new integrated creative approach builds on 4Sales’ industry leading reputation for innovative, creative solutions including holistic brand partnerships, working with Channel 4 talent and programme brands and access to Channel 4’s unique audience insight and first party viewer data.