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You may not be anywhere near the office water cooler right now, but we still want to spotlight the most talked about creative from the brands that should be on your radar. Today, we’re all about Channel 4’s first Christmas campaign, which sees the Pancake Day Pancake save the season.

Channel 4 has capped a challenging year with its first in-house Christmas brand campaign.

Conceived by 4Creative, #MerryDifferent draws a line under recent hardships by bringing some much-needed joy to viewers at a special time, encouraging everyone to break a smile and be more accepting of individual traits.

Premiering tonight at 9pm before Gogglebox, the heartfelt message of togetherness will be delivered by comedian and Great British Bake Off presenter Matt Lucas.

Opening on a dark note, the piece sees Santa’s head elf broach the possibility of cancelling Christmas to his magical helpers – an all too familiar occurrence for events and holidays of all descriptions throughout 2020.

Having none of it though, an outsize Pancake Day mascot comes to the rescue, encouraging the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, St Patrick’s Day Leprechaun, Cupid and a Halloween Ghost to set aside their differences and work together in the spirit of Christmas.

Detailing the zany approach, 4Creative’s chief marketing officer Zaid Al-Qassab says: “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.”

Executive creative director Lynsey Atkin meanwhile adds: “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.“

From the Channel 4 family to your family, the creative will run across all network channels as well as Facebook, Instagram Stories, YouTube and All 4.

The timely creative puts a full stop on a difficult year for the broadcaster, which has sought to play its part in maintaining the optimism of the nation despite facing significant difficulties of its own – not the least of which has been a severe reduction in ad revenues at the height of the crisis.

Going beyond pure entertainment and current affairs, the station has put its weight behind creative, irreverent and distinctive brand messages, such as the #StayAtHome campaign with ‘We Need Your Butt‘. Over the summer, Channel 4 also ran the #BeMoreRainbow inclusivity campaign designed to spread a little kindness.

Behind all this activity, Channel 4 is pushing ahead with its digital-first strategy, which will prioritise streaming content and new revenue streams as the broadcaster’s primary goals.