Channel 4 has launched Complaints Welcome, a defiant advertising campaign by 4Creative featuring a range of the broadcaster’s actors and presenters repeating real complaints made about them. Though this has become a common comedic trope of TV made famous by Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets, many of the statements made by Channel 4’s stars are so shocking that the ad still packs a punch.
“It wouldn’t be so bad if he tried to make himself look like a normal woman,” heckles Grayson Perry, standing in his most glorious robes, and returning to cackle brilliantly towards the end of the film – literally laughing in the face of the complainants. Catastrophe creator Sharon Horgan sits in a Chesterfield sofa amidst a gaggle of old white men to state: “This just confirms my suspicion that women aren’t funny.” The camera pans past a billboard showing The Handmaid’s Tale graffitied with “feminist propaganda”. Meanwhile, Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud says he’s “too posh” and rapper Big Narstie says he’s “too black”.
Five-time gold Paralympic medallist Ellie Simmonds moans, “They’re not real athletes,” before diving into the Olympic pool at Zaha Hadid’s London Aquatics Centre. A few comments from the silly end of the scale bring a lighthearted tone, and highlight the ridiculousness of all the statements. For example, newsreader Jon Snow donning Game of Thrones attire declares: “You know nothing Jon Snow.”
Ian Katz, Channel 4’s director of programmes, said in a statement about the campaign that it “celebrates one of the things at the heart of Channel 4’s identity: challenging the way our viewers think about the world. When there isn’t someone complaining about one of our shows we should be worried.”
Complaints Welcome was directed by Alex Boutell, who was also at the helm for the previous two Bake Off trailers and the Women’s Euros 2017 and Heineken Champions Cup ads also on Channel 4.