Nationwide, Maltesers and McCain Take Stand Against Online Abuse in Channel 4 Ad Break Takeover

Category: News Release

Channel 4 has teamed up with Nationwide Building Society, Maltesers and McCain to broadcast a primetime ad break takeover which takes a stand against online abuse. The break will feature a selection of genuine cruel social media posts aimed at the real people cast in the brands' ads in an effort to encourage viewers to consider the impact of divisive and hateful comments online.

The takeover will be broadcast during the first episode of the new series of Channel 4's Gogglebox at approximately 21.12pm on Friday 7th September 2018.  Viewers will be encouraged to question why online abuse is not taken as seriously as face-to-face hate before being pointed to an online support page ( for more information. They will also be able to continue the debate on social media using the hashtag #TogetherAgainstHate.

This impactful collaborative campaign adapts the brands' original adverts to include examples of real online abuse the contributors received. This is amplified with the application of visual effects designed to replicate what it feels like for those on the receiving end of such hate, including mould, a cracked screen and digital distortion.

Matt Salmon, Channel 4 Head of Agency and Client Sales, said: "As social media has grown in popularity, so too has the environment in which more and more people feel it is acceptable to make vile, threatening and abusive comments.

"This unique brand collaboration highlights this important issue and demonstrates Channel 4's commitment to championing diversity beyond our programmes whilst building on 4Sales' industry leading reputation for delivering original and creative ad campaigns."

The ad break activity was brokered by 4Sales, Wavemaker (Nationwide Building Society), Zenith & Mediacom (Maltesers) and PHD (McCain).  The idea was developed in partnership between 4Sales' creative arm PL4Y and The Outfit, who also produced the work.  Wavemaker will also be running a social campaign on the night with influencers talking about their personal experiences.

Sara Bennison, Nationwide's Chief Marketing Officer, said:  "It’s time that we stand up to hate, which is why we are delighted to be working on this ad break with Channel 4, Maltesers and McCain because it will highlight a growing societal problem where an increasing number of people appear to believe that posting hate speech and threats online is acceptable. Adverts featuring people of different colours, backgrounds and perceived sexuality often appear to attract the most criticism and vitriol and we, like others, have experienced this first hand through our Voices Nationwide campaign.

"Of course, there is a line between what can be considered 'banter' and what is fundamentally crossing the line by attacking individuals. Free speech cannot extend to spreading hate. If it would be deemed unacceptable said face-to-face, why should it be allowed online? At the end of the day, abuse is abuse and that is never okay in our book."

Kerry Cavanaugh, Marketing Director UK, Mars Wrigley Confectionery UK, said: "We are committed to using the power of our brands to challenge stereotyping and misrepresentation in advertising. This particular MALTESERS® campaign, which won Channel 4's Diversity in Advertising Award in 2016, is one we are still immensely proud of and we are pleased to be uniting with Nationwide and McCain to face the issue of online abuse head-on."

Mark Hodge, UK Marketing Director at McCain said: "While the vast majority of people expect today's advertising to represent modern life, it's sad that a minority still refuse to accept that the make-up of families has evolved and this evolution is something to be celebrated. As such, we fully support Channel 4's decision to highlight the problem of online hate speech and take a stand against this inexcusable behaviour.

"We are very grateful to Lee and Mat for featuring in our We Are Family campaign, which sought to celebrate the modern family in every way possible, from LGBT+ families, to grandparents who act as parents. We're shining a light on the good that exists in the diversity of the nation and the truth that whoever we are, we can all still unite over meal times together."

Samantha Renke, Actress and Disability Campaigner, said: "When the MALTESERS® adverts launched, I was shocked and upset by the comments, however, I am not by any means naïve to the world of trolling or online bullying. Any minority or group with something to say is subject to online abuse. For me, I've never had people come up and say horrible things to my face, but the internet gives people anonymity. This Channel 4 initiative is sparking an important conversation and reminding us that we need to call out those who think it's acceptable to hide behind a screen."

Lee Camozzi and Mat Samuels commented: "For us, taking part in this campaign offers a chance to put a spotlight on issues around family diversity and acceptance. We were delighted to appear in the original McCain We Are Family ad, as it's rare to see advertising which represents our family dynamic, but it was awful to receive such horrible comments. Regardless, we remain proud to be part of an advertisement that celebrates families, whatever form they come in and we're committed to highlighting the problem of online hate speech, alongside Channel 4."



Notes to Editors:


Quotes from other campaign contributors:


Saj Nazir, Head of Integrated Delivery, WM Content, Wavemaker says: "We are delighted to have contributed to a campaign that raises awareness around a topic that is often ignored but has such an effect for the people being targeted. To be able to showcase the consequences of online abuse in such an impactful way during some of the nation’s favourite programmes is a great way to help bring this important issue to light".


Niall Murdoch, Founding Partner, The Outfit says: "Whilst people might be aware of the rise in online hate, they are perhaps not aware of the extent and impact of the abuse. We wanted to expose this toxic and threatening language by interrupting and corrupting an ad break with hateful posts sent by real people, about the real people featured in these adverts. We overlaid the ads with visual treatments that showed these hateful words creating a creeping, consuming toxic environment, systematically damaging the images and people featured, in the hope that we could begin to highlight the damage this abuse incurs, and the effect it has on real people's lives."

About Channel 4

Channel 4 is a publicly-owned yet commercially-funded public service broadcaster and has a remit to be innovative, experimental and distinctive. Its public ownership and not-for-profit status ensure all profit generated by its commercial activity is directly reinvested back into the delivery of its public service remit. As a publisher-broadcaster, Channel 4 is also required to commission UK content from the independent production sector and currently works with over 300 creative companies across the UK every year. In addition to the main Channel 4 service, its portfolio includes: E4, More4, Film4, 4Music, 4seven, and digital service All 4.

 About PL4Y

PL4Y is 4 Sales' integrated creative approach; both a culture and practice that encourage curiosity and courage in ideas. Through the practice of PL4Y briefs are interrogated more ruthlessly to define the real challenge and identify the best possible way Channel 4 can add value to a brand.

At the heart of PL4Y is collaboration, working with agencies and clients as early as possible to look at what can be done differently, using a raft of techniques, tools and games to power fresh and bold thinking. This is underpinned by a workshop culture that is planned and executed in the PL4Y house – 4Sales' dedicated creative space in central London where agencies and clients have full access to all of PL4Y's resources.

PL4Y takes inspiration from anywhere, looking outside of the traditional broadcast sphere and forging partnerships that can drive even better creative ideas that deliver results. 

About Nationwide Building Society

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and the second largest mortgages provider in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accountscredit cardsISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers and members.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

About Mars Wrigley Confectionery

Mars is a family-owned business with more than a century of history making diverse products and offering services for people and the pets people love. With almost $35 billion in sales, the company is a global business that produces some of the world’s best-loved brands: M&M’s®, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, MILKY WAY®, DOVE®, PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, EXTRA®, ORBIT®, 5™, SKITTLES®, UNCLE BEN’S®, MARS DRINKS and COCOAVIA®. Mars also provides veterinary health services that include BANFIELD® Pet Hospitals, Blue Pearl®, VCA® and Pet Partners™. Headquartered in McLean, VA, Mars operates in more than 80 countries. The Mars Five Principles – Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom – inspire its more than 100,000 Associates to create value for all its partners and deliver growth they are proud of every day.

About McCain

McCain makes Britain’s favourite chips, and takes pride in the quality and care that goes into every mouthful. At our heart is the food we make and the people around us, from our network of hundreds of potato growers to families enjoying our food at home. For the full range of products with nutritional information please go to

About Wavemaker

Wavemaker is a billion dollar-revenue media, content and technology agency, obsessed with the customer's purchase journey. We invented WM Momentum, the world's most comprehensive study into how people make purchase decisions and have conducted over 350,000 surveys in 35 markets and across more than 70 categories. Our 8,500 people in 90 countries are united through our focus on understanding, accelerating and optimizing purchase journeys; making them more satisfying for consumers and more effective for our clients. We are a part of GroupM, WPP’s global media investment management company. For more information, go to

 About The Outfit

The Outfit creates and produces entertainment-led content bringing the worlds of brand building, brand communication and entertainment together to drive consumer behaviour and deliver commercial results.

Our team are experts in navigating the fast-changing communication space and multiple stakeholder relationships to deliver successful brand content communications across multiple media platforms; from live TV events, to campaigns contextual to channels, incorporating talent, programming or multi-screen platforms. We mix a blend of people from different backgrounds, some from TV programming, others with experience in broadcast, advertising and social media; together we produce bold, ground-breaking, award-winning work. For more information visit: