Supermarket brands to unite against racism in Channel 4 ad break takeover

Channel 4 and the UK’s major supermarket brands are joining forces for a first-of-its-kind commercial initiative in which they will take over two primetime ad breaks and take a stand against racism.

The broadcaster has agreed a deal to air ads by Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Iceland, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Waitrose & Partners one after another during the same ad breaks tomorrow evening. Usually, supermarket brands would avoid running ads so close to one another.

Channel 4’s initiative came in response to racist backlash on social media against the Sainsbury’s Christmas ad, launched earlier this month, which features a black family.

The ad breaks, which will air at about 8.15pm during The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice and 10.15pm during The Last Leg, will feature the 60-second version of the Sainsbury’s festive spot, as well as ads by its supermarket rivals.  

It will be prefaced by a Channel 4 announcement that will say: “Channel 4 stands up against racism. After the reaction to this year’s Sainsbury’s Christmas commercial, retailers have put their usual festive rivalries aside across two ad-breaks tonight to stand side by side with us too.”

Verica Djurdjevic, chief revenue officer at Channel 4, said: “As an anti-racist organisation we are incredibly proud to stand together with Sainsbury’s and our retail partners against racism, using our national platform to call out the unacceptable reaction to Sainsbury’s Christmas ad.”

The brands will support the TV activity with social media messaging at the same time on Friday night.

Rachel Eyre, head of brand communications and creative at Sainsbury’s, added: “We strive to be an inclusive retailer and we’re proud to unite with our industry colleagues to stand up against racism. We’re passionate about reflecting modern Britain and celebrating the diversity of the communities we serve, from our advertising to the products we sell.”