Channel 4 ad calls out business and political elite for their ‘carbon skidmarks’

Channel 4’s in-house creative agency 4creative has taken the concept of a carbon footprint to disturbing new heights with an attention-grabbing ad using ‘carbon skidmarks’ to mark the start of its Climate Change season.

Set to feature in cinemas, online and OOH spaces from 6 November, the advert – directed by GRANDMAS and produced by Academy Films – calls out CEOs of big businesses and politicians for failing to do enough to reduce their impact on the planet.

The campaign features the business and political elite celebrating their elaborate lifestyles and soaring profits as they dance around in carbon-stained underpants.

It builds upon the premise that individuals are often asked to make behavioural changes to reduce their carbon footprint, instead calling out the actions and inactions of those in positions of power.

Creative directors for 4 Creative Andy Vasey and Dan Warner said the campaign creates an “unignorable visual for an unignorable subject”, adding that “people are recycling their backsides off but are people in power doing enough in return?”


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The ad opens with suited businessmen sipping champagne on a private jet before ripping off their trousers and twerking in oil-stained white underpants – representing their carbon skidmark.

They then move to the boardroom where an executive boasts of soaring fossil fuel profits – which kickstarts the oily twerking once more. The final scene takes place in a political debating chamber where papers are strewn in disarray as politicians punch the air, while celebrating and dancing in their underpants.

A voiceover says, “We’re worried about our carbon footprint. But are those in power doing enough about their carbon skidmark? The Climate Change season, coming soon on Channel 4”.

“When it comes to climate change the focus is often put on individuals to try harder which can lead to feelings of guilt, anxiety and helplessness, especially among younger generations,” said Channel 4 head of brand campaigns Nic Moran.

“At Channel 4 we believe in our mission to challenge with purpose as we ask our audience ‘are those with power doing enough to combat the climate crisis?’”

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107 Comments. Leave new

  • . Recent statistical peer reviewed papers based on causality analysis show that counterintuitively global temperature affects carbon dioxide levels and that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels do not affect global temperature. R values are 0.75 and 0.01 respectively. At present this information is not widely known but you would be advised to take notice of it.

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    • All credible scientific bodies agree that Carbon Dioxide producing human activities have drastically sped up global temperature rise. CO2 is also not the only gas that contributes to the GHG effect.

      I’d be interested to see these papers you’re talking about? I would say it’s wholly inadvisable to follow the views of likely small scale research trying to make a headline.

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      • BS

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      • Yes, it’s a GHG, however, there is already sufficient CO2 in the atmosphere. The atmosphere is already completely saturated except in places like the Atacama Desert. Filtering for only the CO2 spectrum, the sun does not appear in the sky, only the glare from nearby land, oceans, and cities. Additional CO2 levels benefit plants and trees. If you want more warming, clear more forests. See “The role of terrestrial plants in limiting atmospheric CO2 decline over the past 24 million years”, Nature 460, 85-88 (2 July 2009) doi:10.1038/nature08133 Letter, concludes that grasslands are the result of the CO2 suffocation of trees. Plate tectonics were responsible for CO2-depleting mineral formation, especially, the uplift of the Himalayas. CO2 levels dropped to 200-250 ppm from 1000-1500 ppm as forests starved for CO2, gave way to prairies.
        http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/nature08133

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      • Atmosphere already saturated with CO2. Filtering for the CO2 absorption bands, one cannot see the sun, only the glare from surrounding heat sources such as land, ocean, and cities.

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  • I find the advert offensive!

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  • Absolutely disgusting advert.

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    • Elizabeth Murphy
      November 16, 2023 2:51 pm

      I dare say this advert might appeal to 14 year olds, it fails to get the message across at all levels. I find it offensive and it achieves nothing
      Elizabeth Murphy

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  • Both my husband & I find this advert VERY offensive. It needs to be stopped now.

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  • Disgusting! This advert is not necessary! I am totally disgusted with the marketing of this! What messages does this leave our young and children? How are our future generations supposed to respect the elder/ parents and grown ups if they see these obscene antics of stupid adults! This ad has made me sick to the stomach! There are other ways we could demonstrate carbon foot print to our future generation! I am a retired teacher and am horrified! This ad should be banned!

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  • Tried to leave a reply but not accepting it for some reason???

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  • I agree Joan. My comments are not being shown as yet!

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  • Please leave people’s comments.

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  • I think there is way to get a point across, however, as much as I agree with the point it is trying to make, it’s an absolutely revolting advert.

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  • Why err on the side of profit

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  • I think the advert for this program the most disgusting thing I have ever had the misfortune to see. How anyone thought that this was appropriate to advertise is beyond words.

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  • Agreed, the’ve plunged to new depths in offensive advertising. THe effect it has is not awakening peoples attention to climate change but siimply to reach for the OFF switch as I do. Use some intelligence FGS.

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  • I am absolutely appalled by the advert, disgusting! Not only disgusting, but very sexually orientated. How is this allowed to air during the day ! My child saw it. She is 7 years old! Typical television pedos!

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    • I think it’s a disgusting advert. They could have had dirty socks on and make footprints. We don’t want to think of skidmarks.

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  • This advert reaches an 11 on the disgusting meter, and that’s a scale that only goes up to 10.

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  • I have emailed Channel 4 with my complaint about this ridiculous and offensive advert. What is the matter with these advertiser’s, how do they get away with it.? They are not helping Climate Change, quite the reverse. Channel 4 needs to take a long hard look at itself.

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  • Absolutely foul *Pukes*

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  • Oh come on! What a vile advert to show on a Channel which is showing child-appropriate comedy series!!

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  • It was shown on a break during a child-appropriate comedy series! I just turned it off quickly – how can that be the object of an advertisement! My description of this ad was censored

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  • Absolutely shocking advert, introducing potty training with my little one and he becomes really upset. This during day time TV is wholly inappropriate

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  • Channel 4 you are scum, disgusting advert!

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  • How has this Climate Change advert been cleared for viewing by the Advertising Standards Authority? I was shocked, horrified and appalled to watch the obscene antics of adults twerking in soiled underpants on the TV during the day when children are viewing?!?!
    This vile advert should be banned immediately. Shame on you Channel 4 😞

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  • Disgusting advert, feel it will do more harm than good 🤨

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  • Offensive advert. Makes me feel quite physically sick.

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  • Absolutely disgraceful. Channel 4 should be ashamed of themselves. Stop this advert. Even the people in the advert should be ashamed of themselves how can they sexualise their adverts like that. Gyrating and blavk marks on underpants. Simulating sex it should be banned. People aren’t remembering what the advert is about only that it is disgraceful. Why do you think you can get away with it.

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  • Find the ad offensive and change channel immediately not clever at all

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  • This advert is utterly disgusting! It should be removed immediately

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  • Children watching ,this is shameful. Masturbation, anal defecation, depictions of excrement. And this is a trailer (without a warning) at 6.30 pm. Even within a mainstream late night programme this would have been gratuitous and tasteless. Without doubt the most disgusting minute in television history.

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  • Worst advert ever. Message unintelligible. Disgusting images.

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  • Lindsay frazer
    November 8, 2023 9:05 pm

    I think this advert is awful ,digrading and extremely childish ,how can you take anything seriously when you do this , whoever thought of this ,and allowed it to be on the tv wants sacking !!

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  • There are so many better ways to promote this important topic. This is puerile and vile.

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  • Absolutely disgraceful advert, is nothing sacred.
    Even portraying the House of Commons, who we all know haven’t been on their best behaviour in recent years
    So perhaps Chanel 4 instead of using appalling shock tactics you should raise the level of decorum in your attempt to educate, all ages, of the impact of their carbon footprint. This “advert” is certainly not suitable or acceptable

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  • “The role of terrestrial plants in limiting atmospheric CO2 decline over the past 24 million years”, Nature 460, 85-88 (2 July 2009) doi:10.1038/nature08133 Letter. Paper concludes that grasslands are the result of the CO2 suffocation of trees. Plate tectonics were responsible for CO2-depleting mineral formation, especially, the uplift of the Himalayas. CO2 levels dropped to 200-250 ppm from 1000-1500 ppm as forests starved for CO2, gave way to prairies: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature08133

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  • Still in moderation? One of my replies disappeared.

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  • Whereas I think that the point has to be made, I see no reason for this revolting piece of advertising to be shown at 7am every morning!

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  • The adverts a disgrace , shown at 7.30am on channel 4 is so wrong

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  • If this advert is representative of your in house advertising agency then there is a need to replace them and for the executives that authorised this abomination to be removed as well. Without any pension or pay offs.

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  • I complained to Channel 4 stating that I found it disgusting & that it totally repulsed me. This makes it highly unlikely for me to consider watching the programmes. Who on earth authorised such crudeness?

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  • Whilst agreeing with Channel 4 for raising this issue I do find the content of the advert as degrading and needlessly sexual given the time it is shown.

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  • This is absolutely revolting and is being shown inappropriately before the watershed, where children will see it. It’s not only revolting, it’s suggestive and totally inappropriate. Quite sickening that this is passed by the ASA.

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  • Absolutely disgraceful. Abhorrent. Vulgar. Disgusting. I have never had an advert have this effect on me and my whole family. I do not want to see it, ever! And to use Parliament as a backdrop, where people are supposed to ve responsible for running the Country, makes me ashamed. We will be complaining to C5 and the ASA in more detail.

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  • This is very offensive and I am pleased that neither my parents or children were present when it came on the TV. Both wife and i were discussed by this. What a lack of moral fibre shows i. Our society if this is allowed to enter our TV space unvoiced in our own homes.

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  • Utterly disgraceful and unnecessary – how low can we go?

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  • The ad is definitely disgusting, but says more about the people who made it than climate change.

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  • Disgusting advert. How can this offensive rubbish be broadcast on TV?

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  • Saw this ad for the first time at 6pm tonight, I’m not a prude but this ad is totally inappropriate.

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  • BAN IT NOW. What an appauling advert. Myself and husband find it vulgar and offensive certainly NOT coming across with the right intention. So glad my grandchildren havnt seen it.

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  • Appalling advert. Gross. Makes me far less likely to watch. Totally unnecessary twerking in House of Commons and the mace. How did this get passed? Completely inappropriate for children to watch.

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  • Mrs Frieda Fowle
    November 11, 2023 5:29 pm

    I am highly offended and disgusted with the advert which should ve enough to get it removed

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  • Whoever thought this trailer was suitable viewing really needs investigating, because there is something in their brain which isn’t functioning properly.

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  • Absolutely disgusting advert, one of the biggest wastes of taxpayers money. It’s vulgar and in very poor taste. Government should be ashamed .

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  • I’ve seen this TV Advert so many times in the morning on Channel 4 and this is an explicit advert that is completely inappropriate, disgusting and vulgar which is completely not suitable for children to see and which should be banned.

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  • This advert is beyond disgusting. Why are the puppet masters trying to take the public into the gutter?

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  • I think the advert is vulgar and should be taken off immediately and unsuitable for children to see

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  • This advert is puerile and disgusting. Bringing everything down to the lowest common denominator and presuming that the general public think scatology is amusing and interesting. It brings Channel 4 and this country into disrepute. The UK was once though of as a decent country with principals and decency.

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  • Absolutely disgusting add, I have emailed a complaint. Encourage everyone else that agrees to email and complaint. What a lack of respect for anyone that has being abused…

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  • Disgusting advert channel 4 should be ashamed of it self

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  • Enough already. You made your point- people are talking- move on. Nearly the holidays….I’d rather look at a Venus fly trap!

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  • I find this advert very distasteful and embarrassing especially for people who have to live with incontinence problems on a daily basis to have this blasted across tv screens disgusts me

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  • Well what did you expect???
    I don’t know of any institution that hasn’t got corruption in it, especially in the UK.
    NO PUNISHMENT FOR FAILURE

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  • Karen Outhwaite
    November 15, 2023 4:04 pm

    Totally offensive advert – disgraceful depicting people soiling their underwear & sexually charged moves – needs taking off air

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  • VILE ADVERT, TOTALLY UNNECESSARY, WHATS YOUR POINT?

    SO DISGUSTED BY IT VISUALLY I COULD NOT TELL YOU WHAT ITS ABOUT

    SO OBVIOUSLY NOT WORTH THE COST OF FILMING OR SHOWING

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  • Marguis DeHaviland
    November 15, 2023 7:54 pm

    Well done Ch 4 a brilliant ad to highlight the fact that fatcats are making billions and don’t give a s*** about the environment, no pun intended…

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  • I can understand the shock tactics route but this was really not a good idea, quite disturbing and thoroughly irresponsible.

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  • Joanna McDonough
    November 19, 2023 11:49 am

    I’ve complained about this to the ASA – vile advert ! I was appalled and disgusted!

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  • Hate that advert..I change channels immediately. Vile. To the point I won’t watch the series. Creative? Nah.

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  • To the surprise of no-one, climate cultists reveal themselves to be insane.

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  • Shocking advert absolutely disgusting it seems channel 4 can broadcast anything in the name of unfounded climate clames typical of the left wing woke tree hugger channel
    Unfortunately it’s the sad world we live in at the moment bored of all of it more concerned on trying to provide food for my children but the loony lefties that don’t need to work that spend there days sticking thereselves to the tarmac don’t have that problem do
    They

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  • I agree with all the above ,it’s a repulsive ,disgusting advert. Needs to be taken down immediately. Sue

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  • I find this advert totally offensive and inappropriate for viewing on daytime tv

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  • I did report this advert/trailer to ASA agency .. they sent a standard response. Report it to chanel 4

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  • A quite disgusting advert and I found it offensive and not effective in getting the message over it wished to convey – Channel4’s inhouse agency needs a springclean to clear out whoever conceived this concept and whoever approved it.

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  • The advert makes me feel physically sick and I agree with other comments. The advert is still being shown. It was on 5 minutes ago ay 6.30pm. How on earth did it get passed for broadcast ?

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  • Substandard advertising. Utterly disgusting and inappropriate. Surely there are more appropriate ways to highlight an important issue. How has this even been approved to be aired?

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  • It seems like an ad made by children for children. It’s totally repulsive and offensive. Channel 4 is scraping the barrel.

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  • Really offensive advert, not tbe sort of viewing you want while eating either or in company of young children. Disgusting.

    Reply

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