Together Against Hate Channel 4 campaign

New Channel 4 ad break takeover exposes abuse faced by public-facing staff

Nationwide, Network Rail and Co-op collaborated on the #TogetherAgainstHate campaign, which played out on an ad break on Channel 4 on Friday and used recordings and CCTV to highlight customers’ abusive behaviour towards staff

Poster campaigns highlighting abusive public behaviour towards staff have become more ubiquitous of late, as seen regularly across the UK rail network. However, UK staff in customer-facing roles, including in shops and on public transport, are reportedly subject to over 400 abuse incidents daily – and the figure is climbing, despite the central role that public service staff have played in keeping communities afloat during lockdown and the subsequent reopening of the country.

A new instalment of the #TogetherAgainstHate campaign launched on Friday to draw attention to customers’ poor treatment of staff. The campaign is a collaboration between Channel 4 and Nationwide Building Society – which previously partnered on a similar spot in 2018 following hateful responses to a Nationwide advert starring Sugar J Poet – as well as Network Rail and Co-op.

The ad break comprises newspaper headlines, CCTV footage and audio recordings (voiced by actors) of genuine verbal and physical abuse directed towards Network Rail, Co-op and Nationwide staff. These references are contrasted by the affectionate words of staff members discussing why they enjoy working in a public-facing role, making for an intentionally jarring watch.

The campaign is backed up by worrying statistics – 43% of shop workers have reported being threatened with physical violence, with a knife mentioned by one in five. Meanwhile, 70% of UK frontline rail staff have experienced violence at work in the past year.

The ad break activity was brokered by 4Sales, Wavemaker (Nationwide Building Society), Dentsu (Co-op) and UM Birmingham (Network Rail). The idea was developed in partnership between 4Sales’ creative arm PL4Y and The Outfit, who also produced the work.