Channel 4 has released its first Christmas brand campaign to encourage acceptance at the end of a tough year.
The ad, by in-house agency 4Creative, launches on Friday (11 December) and includes a voiceover by Matt Lucas, co-host of The Great British Bake Off.
“Merry different” opens at Holiday Mascot HQ, where an elf breaks the bad news that Santa Claus is thinking about cancelling Christmas because of the difficult circumstances. The various holiday mascots, from a Halloween ghost to the St Patrick’s Day leprechaun, then offer their own ideas for revamping the festive season this year.
“Just leave the presents in the street,” the Easter Bunny suggests, while the Tooth Fairy says: “Why don’t we go into the houses and leave teeth?”
The brainstorming session descends into infighting, until one unexpected holiday mascot speaks up: the pancake of Pancake Day. The wise and calm food delivers a moving speech about coming together despite their differences.
“We may all look a little different, and we may all stand for different things. But this is Christmas,” the pancake says. “Granted, it’ll be different this year. But like us, different can be good.”
The work was created by Chris Rice, Greg Carter and Lydia Raghavan, and directed by David Kolbusz (chief creative officer of Droga5 London) and Jeff Low through Biscuit Filmworks.
Lynsey Atkin, executive creative director of 4Creative, said: “Whether a work crisis meeting or an at-home kitchen meltdown, we’ve all had a moment this year where things have felt almost impossible. Even the things we love the most, like Christmas.
"But in the hardest of times comes hope. Admittedly, it may not always be pancake-shaped, but it’s often those with a different perspective from ourselves, who can help us find a way. Channel 4 wishes everyone a very merry different Christmas.”
The ad will run on Channel 4’s network as well as its video-on-demand platform All 4 and social-media channels, including YouTube, Instagram Stories and Facebook.
Channel 4 chief marketing officer Zaid Al-Qassab added: “Channel 4 is here to ensure alternative voices are heard, which reflect an inclusive, modern Britain. We think our family of holiday mascots is a fitting reflection of the diversity of many British families doing their best in difficult circumstances this Christmas season.”