Eurobest

Channel 4 Idents

4CREATIVE, London / CHANNEL 4 / 2023

Awards:

1 Gold Eurobest
1 Shortlisted Eurobest
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Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

Channel 4 is the U.K’s alternative public service broadcaster. In an ever-expanding world of broadcasters and streamers, our brand love and recognition is critical. This had declined in recent years as our on-screen branding consisted of a deconstructed version of our logo, and didn’t align with our current brand positioning of ‘Altogether Different’. We were tasked with creating new idents for the tv channel (and its online service), that put the iconic ‘4’ back at the heart of the visuals and connected it to the spirit of ‘Altogether Different’ – a positioning that celebrates the diverse, inclusive, and alternative nature of the U.K. as seen through Channel 4’s eyes. We needed a piece of film that cut through and made people love Channel 4.

Idea

We created an infinite loop – the iconic 4 sits centrally and endlessly turns into itself, revealing a new scene around it with each loop. This gave us a canvas to create ‘altogether different’ worlds, all unified by the 4, the camera move and the cube motif at the base of the 4. We worked with 17 diverse directors and artists to create 25 distinct worlds that link seamlessly together to become a tapestry of modern Britain. Employing live action, animation, and full CG, and playing with many contrasting elements (scale, tone, colour, light etc), the result is a hugely ambitious visualisation of how we live now.

Reflecting the themes of Identity, the Land, System, Release and Love, we created 5 separate 40” idents for use on the Channel, and combined them to create this powerful and hypnotic piece of film, accompanied by a specially commissioned voiceover.

Strategy

In the battle for viewers’ attention, broadcast brands need to be immediately recognisable and easy to recall. In a competitive Distinctive Brand Assets study in Jan 2021, we found that both spontaneous and prompted recall of Channel 4 was some way behind our major competitors, particularly in the digital space. Spontaneous association of our logo with the Channel 4 brand was 5% behind our direct competitor ITV, with over 10% of UK respondents not recognising that the famous blocks represented Channel 4.

Our strategic response was to embark on a major principles-based rebrand, pulling our linear and streaming viewing together for the first time under one masterbrand. We decided to put our logo front and centre in the new set of idents (it previously hadn’t featured at all). We made it an active part of the creative – the 4 becoming a literal lens into diverse communities, ideas and worlds.

Execution

The film is an infinite loop – the iconic Channel 4 logo sits centrally and endlessly turns into itself, revealing a new scene around it with each loop. Each of these different and distinct worlds link seamlessly together to become a tapestry of modern Britain – from the brutal, lonely, crashing waves of the North Sea, to an urban fox in a disused telephone box; from Friday night revellers frozen in time, to a riot in the streets with the 4 logo ablaze. Reflecting the themes of Identity, the Land, System, Release and Love and employing live action, animation and full CG, and playing with many contrasting elements (scale, tone, colour, light etc), the result is a hugely ambitious visualisation of Channel 4’s brand platform, ‘Altogether Different’.

This powerful and hypnotic piece of film is further accompanied by a specially commissioned voiceover from a modern British writer.

Outcome

The process took just under 12 months from brief to launch, premiering on 14th June 2023 as a primetime full ad break takeover.

The idents themselves (filmic assets without voiceover) continue to have massive reach, running every hour, every day of the week on Channel 4, reaching 81% of the population 40+ times a year. Its vital viewers find them appealing as they will be on C4 for years to come. While it is too early to see the long term positive impact on brand recognition scores, Social Listening since launch demonstrates the new idents have been enthusiastically received by viewers. The full launch film has been viewed 70,000 times on YouTube since launch and comments are almost 100% positive. “This is an amazing reflection on the diversity of the British Isles and if I have to say, probably one of the best televisual identities so far in this decade”.

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