Anti – Christmas: Christmas on E4

Last week I shared the BBC1 Christmas film – positioning BBC1 as the home of entertainment for the whole channel this Christmas. Unlike BBC1, Channel 4’s youth brand station E4 has a completely different feel this Christmas – as these short idents from Matt Layzell at Treat Studios show.

E4 (E stands for Entertainment) is aimed at the 15-35 age group.These animations have a distinctly uncomfortable anti-Christmas feel. But then, who says every channel needs look the same?

It seems these idents build on a fairly distinctive visual style that the channel used to promote various other elements of the output too – as shown in this wrapper for film content.

I really like seeing animation in TV idents – it worked so well for MTV for so many years – and in fact, the longer a channel does it, the bigger the impact. The animation doesn’t have to be in a single, distinctive visual style, but it has to be true to the character of the brand; in MTV’s case, the MTV letters become part of the personality of the visual identity. It’s the equivalent of radio stations trying to maintain an element of sonic distinctiveness through “heritage” musical logos.

The success of both a visual and audio identity is to sustain them over time. In a world where brand managers are always wanting the “new” – this is sometimes easier said than done.

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