Airbnb, Gillette and Virgin Media among brands lining up for audio ad break takeover

Channel 4 and RNIB campaign highlights the importance of audio description.

Channel 4 and RNIB: raising awareness of audio description
Channel 4 and RNIB: raising awareness of audio description

Channel 4 has teamed up with charity RNIB and six brands to raise awareness of audio description (AD), an additional commentary that verbally explains what’s happening on screen.

Airbnb, BT Broadband, Experian, Virgin Media, Gillette and Oral B will create a multi-brand AD ad-break takeover, giving viewers insight into living with visual impairment. It will highlight the importance of AD by raising awareness of its availability for blind and partially sighted audiences. The campaign also aims to encourage other brands to increase the number of ads they make available with AD to support viewers with sight loss.

The campaign will involve the participating brands being split evenly across two ad breaks within the Paralympics Opening Ceremony and The Last Leg on 24 August, as well as during live coverage and highlights of the Games on 25 August.

For both breaks, the brands' normal 10-second ads will be repurposed by Channel 4 and graphically treated, distorting the visual experience and making them hard to see, demonstrating what it is like for someone with sight loss to watch TV. AD will be used to prompt audiences to hear and engage with the audio description recorded by presenter and comedian Alex Brooker.

Veriça Djurdjevic, chief revenue officer at Channel 4, said: “We understand that not every ad can be produced with AD but we also know that many more can, which is why we are thrilled to team up with the RNIB and our advertisers to help find ways to improve awareness for this extremely important service. It’s vital Channel 4 ad breaks are as inclusive as possible, and that blind and partially sighted people are able to enjoy the same TV experience as everyone else."

David Clarke, former Paralympian and director of services at RNIB, said: “The Paralympics is all about empowering people with disabilities and demonstrates what changes need to be made to make society more inclusive for those with sight loss and other disabilities. The fact that blind and partially sighted people watching the Games from the comfort of their own homes will be able to engage with both the programmes and ad breaks at the same time as their sighted peers is a massive turning point in breaking down the barriers that still exist for people with sight loss.”

The ad break will open with a Channel 4 branded introduction to explain the context of the campaign, with a closing message directing audiences to RNIB for further information.

The campaign was created by 4Sales’ creative arm PL4Y, alongside  agency partners Essence, PHD, P&G One and Manning Gottlieb OMD.

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