BTF Commercial

Channel 4 unveils ambitious commercial plans to support The Black to Front Project

Category: News Release
  • Every commercial break across a full day to only feature adverts with a Black lead or a majority Black cast
  • Over 60 brands taking part with 70 campaigns across Channel 4 and All 4
  • Direct Line, HSBC and Tesco join forces for a bespoke advertising special  
  • LinkedIn exclusive sponsor of Black and Proud All 4 collection lounge
  • 4Sales announce commercial initiatives to ensure the project leaves a legacy

In a world first, Channel 4 has transformed its entire commercial schedule to support its ambitious Black to Front Project. Channel 4’s commercial arm, 4Sales, will only broadcast adverts featuring either a Black lead character or a majority Black cast, to raise awareness and drive conversations around improving Black representation in advertising.

Channel 4’s commitment to take the Black to Front Project beyond its editorial content and into commercial airtime will see a unique collaboration with 70 campaigns from over 60 different brands across 55 linear ad breaks and countless All 4 breaks in programming dedicated to Black lives and Black culture, on Friday 10th September.

Every brand’s advert featured on Channel 4 or around dedicated content on All 4 will feature central Black characters and stories as part of the broadcaster’s wider Black to Front project – an ambitious day of programming that will see Channel 4's entire programming schedule fronted by Black talent.

In addition, every sponsorship brand partner that is on-air on the day has reviewed or updated their ident creative to ensure it aligns with the day’s ambition.

Beyond the core ad breaks, 4Sales is delivering a number of commercial initiatives in support of the wider project:

The Joy of Black, an ad-break takeover

4Sales have teamed up with Direct Line, HSBC, and Tesco for a bespoke ad-break takeover which premieres in the first break of Celebrity Gogglebox at 9pm.  The break includes three separate 30 second adverts featuring Black employees from each of the participating brands, giving viewers a glimpse into their personal lives and sharing what brings them joy.

Presented by Channel 4, it will also comprise of a 10” Channel 4 branded intro, and a 20” outro with brand logo accreditation.

As part of a drive to engage new Black creative talent in the advertising industry, the campaign was created by a crew which was over 60% Black – well above industry averages for representation.

LinkedIn sponsor All 4 collection lounge  

On All 4, LinkedIn will sponsor a bespoke collection lounge, ‘LinkedIn Conversations For Change’, featuring a range of Black stories from the Channel 4 archive - amplifying Black and Proud.

From a live stream of The Big Breakfast in the morning, to Film4 films and new commissions like Highlife, all adverts around this content on All 4 will prominently feature a Black cast.

4Sales Legacy

To ensure the commercial support of Channel 4’s Black To Front project leaves a lasting legacy for the advertising industry, 4Sales have announced initiatives including:

Building on its successful ‘Mirror On The Industry’ research project, 4Sales are committing to a new annual diversity audit of UK television advertising, aiming to explore how diverse and inclusive UK television advertising is today, and track improvement over time.

Channel 4 will also be offering a placement to young Black creatives and also creating an ‘opportunity fund’ to help those seeking to break into the creative side of the advertising industry with living costs.

Verica Djurdjevic, Chief Revenue Officer at Channel 4 said: “At Channel 4 not only are we committed to reflecting the cultural diversity of Britain in our editorial content, but also in our commercial airtime.

“We have seen an incredibly strong appetite from brands and agencies to work with us on this ambitious project to help us achieve Channel 4’s biggest cultural intervention ever. We hope that many of these spots will run beyond this day and herald a step-change in behaviour and a commitment to a lasting legacy for better representation in the TV advertising industry.”


Notes to editor

Quotes from brands involved:

Alessandra Bellini, Chief Customer Officer at Tesco said: “We are proud to work alongside Channel 4 to support the Black to Front Project and to play our part in driving a significant culture change across the industry and our wider society for Black inclusion, echoing our own diversity commitments across Tesco. At Tesco, we’re committed to creating long term solutions that make Tesco more diverse and inclusive. We believe that diversity in our business makes us stronger and our advertising campaigns are designed to represent everyone, showing the breadth of the communities and customers we serve.”

Raj Morjaria, Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Direct Line responds: “At Direct Line we’re passionate about celebrating the uniqueness of our people and we’re delighted to be working with Channel 4 on this campaign. Far too often, the lived experiences of Black people are presented though a lens of trauma. The ‘Joy of Black’ ad-break takeover presents a different perspective – and we’re incredibly proud to be part of that. We look forward to seeing the full day of programming, and of course celebrating in our colleague’s joy.”

Sarah Mayall, Head of Brand Marketing HSBC UK: “We’re proud to be partnering with Channel 4 as part of this historic moment. Although Black to Front may only be one day, we hope that this will go on to leave an impactful legacy on the adverting industry, opening up even more opportunities for Black individuals to showcase their talent, and help us all to create a more inclusive and tolerant society.”

Yasmin O’Neal – P&G Personal Care Brand and Sales Director:P&G are proud to be partnering with Channel 4 to support this campaign. The Black Lives Matter movement helped show us at P&G that we needed to do better to contribute to anti-racist culture. We are on a mission to drive better representation of Black and Mixed heritage people in our Marketing and in our workforce. This campaign is a celebration of the progress we have made and a reminder of the work still to be done.  As the Business Director for Olay and a woman of Mixed heritage myself I see how impactful it is to have products designed with diversity at the heart, seeing myself and my community reflected in Brand campaigns sends a powerful message to the next generation, it lets them know they’re seen and valued.” 

The Joy Of Black creative credits: 

Director - Kevin Morosky @kevinmorosky

Creative - Kevin Morosky and Tom Dunn @onetrueneville

Producer - Sunita Hyams

Executive Producer - Luti Fagbenle @lutimedia

For more about the Black to Front Project: