Channel 4 launches ad break accessible to hearing impaired for Paralympics

Channel 4 has partnered with seven advertisers to launch an ad break that is fully accessible to deaf and hard of hearing viewers during its Paralympics coverage.

Channel 4 launches ad break accessible to hearing impaired for Paralympics

The ad break will air during an episode of Channel 4’s The Last Leg: Live from Rio on Friday at approximately 8:30pm, and will be signed by deaf artist and actor David Ellington. 

The participating brands are Allianz Insurance, British Gas, Flash Cleaner, Maltesers, Nationwide, O2 and Samsung.

Ellington, who stars in the signed version of Channel 4’s "We’re the superhumans" campaign, will give a choreographed performance along with each ad. For example, he will act as a cupcake salesman for Nationwide and dress in a swimming cap and trunks for Samsung’s ad featuring comedian Jack Whitehall and Paralympic swimmers Ellie Simmonds and Susie Rodgers.    

He will be able to relax during Maltesers’ spot, which is already fully signed and features a deaf woman describing an awkward moment. That ad was one of three launched by Maltesers last week during the Paralympics opening ceremony after winning Channel 4’s Superhumans Wanted competition, which awarded £1m in commercial airtime to the best creative idea with disability at its heart.

This initiative follows Channel 4’s Paralympics-themed break during the opening ceremony, which included ads from Sainsbury’s, Samsung and Nissan alongside the Maltesers spots. 

PL4Y, the creative strategy department of Channel 4’s commercial arm 4Sales, developed the ad break. Creative strategist Charlotte Rowland and Michelle Pierre, campaign and projects manager at Channel 4, led the project. They worked with media agencies Carat (British Gas), Havas Media (Nationwide and O2), MediaCom (Allianz), Starcom (Flash Cleaner and Samsung) and Zenith (Maltesers). 

Channel 4 produced the ad break with the support of charities Action on Hearing Loss and the Royal Institute of Blind People, and each participating brand donated to these organisations. A signed and audio-described version will be available on All 4’s Watch Live feature. 

Jonathan Allan, sales director at Channel 4, said: "Following the hugely positive audience feedback from our opening Paras themed ad break and the Maltesers ads, we’re incredibly excited to continue our story through this industry first, with our Superhumans ad star David signing an entire ad break for our viewers with hearing loss which we think all our viewers will enjoy.

"This truly original ad break takes an important step to improving access to all our content and to inspire advertisers through our activation of the Paralympic Games."

Last week Channel 4 also broadcast a subtitled and signed version of its "We're the superhumans" ad at dedicated cinema screenings for hearing impaired people.

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