Marketing Mix: Channel 4

We rang the broadcaster to complain that Borat's jibes are offensive and Ali G just isn't funny anymore, innit.


C4 Viewer enquiries.

Mktg I was disgusted by the jokes Ali G made the other day on Channel 4.

C4 Right...

Mktg Actually it was his Borat character.

C4 Sorry, which element of the programme are you talking about?

Mktg It was the anti-Jewish bit. He was just taking the piss out of


I have lots of Jewish friends and we found it inappropriate.

C4 OK, I'll certainly pass on those comments for you.

Mktg What happens now?

C4 Your complaint has been logged and will be passed on to the programme

commissioners and makers, and our regulatory body Ofcom.

Mktg I've always associated Channel 4 with young, edgy programmes, but I

think it has been losing touch. Who decides what is shown?

C4 Ultimately the director of television, but our commissioning editors

commission shows.

Mktg Who decides what's funny?

C4 The commissioning editors.

Mktg Don't they have to research whether it's funny?

C4 The process is overseen by our director of television. Also, our

legal and compliance teams would have looked over the programme to make

sure that there was nothing illegal broadcast. Ultimately Ofcom, if it

felt we'd shown something offensive or unsuitable, would take

appropriate measures.

Mktg Is it worth me going to Ofcom?

C4 You can if you'd like.

Mktg Does Ofcom have the power to tell you to stop using Ali G?

C4 It can't tell us what to broadcast. It can tell us not to show it

again in its current form, fine us, or force us to apologise.

Mktg I just don't think Ali G's funny anymore.

C4 Whether he's funny is one thing, whether he's offensive is another.

I take your point that this item is offensive. Do you want to leave your

name and number so that if the commissioning or legal department wanted

to address these areas, they can contact you?


The call-handler was a little frosty to begin with, but perhaps that was because I called at 4.55pm on a Friday.

However, he warmed up once he realised he wasn't going to get rid of me with a simple 'I'II pass your complaint on'.

He was very clear in his description of the commissioning process and Ofcom. But I felt he missed an opportunity to reassure me that C4 was still as funky as ever when I said I thought it was losing touch.

Score 6/10.


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