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Hate Speech Assault Media

Channel 4 uses Gogglebox ad break to highlight abuse faced by UK customer facing staff


By John Glenday, Reporter

October 19, 2020 | 4 min read

You may not be anywhere near the office water cooler right now, but we still want to spotlight the most talked about creative from the brands that should be on your radar. Today, we explore Channel 4’s strongly-worded ad break in tandem with Nationwide, the Co-op and Network Rail, which illustrates the abuse aimed at customer service staff.

Channel 4

Channel 4 uses Googlebox ad break to highlight abuse faced by UK customer facing staff

The shocking extent of abuse directed towards customer service staff has been laid bare in a Channel 4 ad break takeover which played out audio and CCTV recordings of physical and verbal abuse directed towards employees of Nationwide, The Co-op and Network Rail.

#TogetherAgainstHate saw the businesses put on a united front during an episode of Gogglebox to call out such behaviour, making clear that assaults of any kind will not be tolerated.

There are an estimated 400 abuse incidents (and rising) registered across the UK every day, with 43% of shopworkers having been threatened with physical violence, a fifth involving a knife. Figures are even more alarming among front line rail staff where 70% have been subject to some form of workplace violence over the past year.

To hammer home the sometimes grim reality of public-facing roles, each brand reiterated their love of serving the public, overlaying these messages with call centre recordings of abusive customers and newspaper reports documenting attacks on retail workers and CCTV footage of attacks on train staff.

Matt Salmon, sales director for Channel 4, said: “Partnering with the Together Against Hate campaign is an opportunity for Channel 4 to do what we do best - using the power of TV to encourage debate and inspire positive societal change.

“Customer facing staff up and down the country are vital in helping us all, day-in, day-out and abuse of any kind should never be tolerated.”

Jo Whitfield, chief exec of Co-op Food, added: “Violence and abuse against shop workers have reached intolerable levels and we are pleased to be taking a stand alongside our colleagues in the travel and financial services sectors to say enough is enough, as we urgently need a reset in society to help protect people who are simply going to work.”

The campaign was devised in partnership between 4Sales' creative arm PL4Y and The Outfit, drawing on a 2018 #TogetherAgainstHate collaboration between Nationwide Building Society and Channel 4. Supported by Maltesers and McCain this brought online abuse to wider attention and encouraged viewers to reflect on the impact divisive and hateful comments can have.

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Channel 4

Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster that began transmission on 2 November 1982. 

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