Channel 4 Street Summer promo


Update: MPC’s behind-the-scene ‘making of’. Fascinating stuff!

Given the recent riots and looting that’s been plaguing England, I cannot help but post this “Street Summer” promo by Channel 4. MPC London is responsible for the flawless VFX, which is fascinating to watch if you can ignore the highly charged content for a second.

Glancing through the comments on the official YouTube page and also here, I find them to be just as interesting as the video.

Is this inappropriate, done in poor taste? Or is this simply a honest portrayal of the youth culture in Britain now? Does this condone stereotyping or challenge viewers to rethink it? What do you think?

Thanks to Zinnia for the nudge, and our hearts go out to U.K. residents affected by the riots.

 

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About the author

Lilian Darmono

/ www.liliandarmono.com
Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, Lilian moved to Singapore and eventually Australia for her studies, eventually graduating from Swinburne NID in Prahran, Melbourne. She then worked in print design before deciding to switch to the field of Motion Design in late 2003. Her obsessions include travelling, illustrating, and cats. She is currently in the London leg of her 'Mograph Tour Around The World', and calls Melbourne home.

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  • Anonymous

    I don’t know what you are trying to say by posting this?

    You are drawing comparison to acts of shameful violence and looting just because it features the same backdrop?

    When I look at this spot I see art and creativity. If you knew anything about these individual artists you wouldn’t be so quick to judge. Akala, Ms Dynamite… they make music with a message.

    This is British street culture. What you are seeing on the news is not.

    This post has offended me.

    • I am not judging, I just want to share this promo which has really polarised some people out there. Some share your opinion, some think channel 4 has made something off-putting. Some merely see this as unfortunate coincidence. 

      There are very complicated issues behind the riots. I personally feel for London as a city, and Britain as a nation. I am sorry if I have offended you and others, it certainly was not the intention.

    • And in all honesty, filfury, you have said something very important about the piece and what it represents, which is a great contribution to this debate, so thank you for that! 

    • It’s not about creativity or art. It’s about encouraging someone to ride a bike on cars, vandalising someone else’s home, being chased by police and thinking that’s cool. This is not British culture I’m afraid. 

  • don’t really see the charged content aspect of it, seems pretty harmonious infact. kinda looks like williamsburg lol

  • This is a brilliant promo that is beautifully made.

    It seems silly to post it just after the riots and linking it to them even though this promo has been aired for over a month now!

    • Thanks for your comment, Robert. I am aware this has been running way before the riots…

      However, as filfury pointed out, the landscape shown in this clip, is simply ‘British street culture’. I completely agree with that, having lived there for a couple of years. 

      But that’s what raises more questions in my head, such as: should it be taken for granted that some of what we see here is just the way things are–especially since these themes have made it into a major TV network’s promo? The police is always at clashing points with young people, for instance. (This is one of the main reasons cited for the social unrest we’ve seen in the past few days in the UK, but that’s another long thread of debate).Another point: does it challenge stereotypes? For example, this clip shows you that it does not mean every young person who dress a certain way or does certain things are associated with gangs or vandalism or rebellion, or whatever negativity that the ‘general public’ seems to associate with young people of Britain/London. But this last point would only be obvious at the very start if you know your street artists (faces and all), and I know a lot of people out there who probably don’t. So there you go. Why did I post this? Because I think it’s interesting when you come across pieces like this, who’s yes, well executed, but also has deeper meanings, and very rich cultural context and therefore polarises people. I wanted to share this with Motionographer audience in the spirit of starting a debate/discussion on visual storytelling and how these messages we tell through motion design can strike deep emotional responses in people. Being more aware of things like these, I believe, makes us better designers–we’re more careful about what we say because we acknowledge how powerful they can be and how deeply they can affect people. Justin Cone used to put up posts that end with questions, always inviting responses, debate, discussion. I have tried a little bit to keep that spirit alive here. 

      Because, you know, facebook isn’t big enough to facilitate this sort of discussion, am I right?

  • The young people who have dedicated themselves to their art, be it music, sport or design should be commended for their skill and dedication. If the ‘rabble without a cause’ would follow that example, rather than live in a deluded state of consumerist envy, there might not be such a divided sense of community in London. 

    • Anonymous

      Cant agree more, and not sure on the point of posting as it seems to me only connected on s superficial level. and as for channel 4 they have really no clue on the mindset of this culture, I am not a middle class designer who moved to london I grow up in one of the areas hit and what a channel like 4 dont realize, there is nothing cool or glamorous about the life style if you are in it, and its also not funny when channel 4 constantly snigger behind there smug hands at these people and then with the other hand make a “cool edgy” bullcrap pastiche of the culture…or lack there of, bravo mpc btw, hats off

      • Very interesting point you raised, Fin! Glad to hear from an insider.Yes, you’re right the connection I made with the riots is purely superficial, it’s just an opportunity to start a discussion, on something that matters more than just another ad selling beer! 

        • also part of the point of posting this is to draw comments like yours, filfury, Robert’s, and more…all very important voices to be heard..

        • also part of the point of posting this is to draw comments like yours, filfury, Robert’s, and more…all very important voices to be heard..

      • London is full of white middle class kids who went to Art School and live in a deprived area because they think that makes them cool, oh no sorry “kool”. Nothing more irritating that corn fed, arty types pretending to be ghetto boys.

        Unfortunately our industry is littered with those types and this video is a direct consequence of that. 

        • Hey Luca! Thanks for your participation in the debate…no doubt many people out there agree that “arty types pretending to be ghetto boys”  are annoying.

          But I think it’s hard to say if this video is a direct product of those types–you can see how people like filfury and others out there feel this promo sends out a positive message. 

          Also, I am not well-versed in urban British art scene, but I’m guessing that the artists featured in the promo have strong creative voices that resonate with the dispossessed young people of Britain, because they’re not ‘faking it’, that they know what it means to grow up in difficult socio-economic circumstances. And perhaps the clip makers are fakers, but the fact that the folks featured in it are not, may be enough (for some) to justify the argument that this is a positive promo…it is certainly well made from the technical standpoint….

          • HI Lil, now that the fear and anger have gone, we are left with lots of questions about our youth and politicians and police arguing for an answer on gang culture, obviously this has been bubbling up for a while, who knows if they will ever get to the bottom of this. 
            Meanwhile life goes on.

          • HI Lil, now that the fear and anger have gone, we are left with lots of questions about our youth and politicians and police arguing for an answer on gang culture, obviously this has been bubbling up for a while, who knows if they will ever get to the bottom of this. 
            Meanwhile life goes on.

          • Yeah it is sad isn’t it… we can only hope for the best, these problems would take decades to resolve :(

        • Hey Luca! Thanks for your participation in the debate…no doubt many people out there agree that “arty types pretending to be ghetto boys”  are annoying.

          But I think it’s hard to say if this video is a direct product of those types–you can see how people like filfury and others out there feel this promo sends out a positive message. 

          Also, I am not well-versed in urban British art scene, but I’m guessing that the artists featured in the promo have strong creative voices that resonate with the dispossessed young people of Britain, because they’re not ‘faking it’, that they know what it means to grow up in difficult socio-economic circumstances. And perhaps the clip makers are fakers, but the fact that the folks featured in it are not, may be enough (for some) to justify the argument that this is a positive promo…it is certainly well made from the technical standpoint….

      • London is full of white middle class kids who went to Art School and live in a deprived area because they think that makes them cool, oh no sorry “kool”. Nothing more irritating that corn fed, arty types pretending to be ghetto boys.

        Unfortunately our industry is littered with those types and this video is a direct consequence of that. 

      • London is full of white middle class kids who went to Art School and live in a deprived area because they think that makes them cool, oh no sorry “kool”. Nothing more irritating that corn fed, arty types pretending to be ghetto boys.

        Unfortunately our industry is littered with those types and this video is a direct consequence of that. 

      • London is full of white middle class kids who went to Art School and live in a deprived area because they think that makes them cool, oh no sorry “kool”. Nothing more irritating that corn fed, arty types pretending to be ghetto boys.

        Unfortunately our industry is littered with those types and this video is a direct consequence of that. 

  • I’m sorry but this is really not cool, glamorising yob culture and validate thuggish beahviour, these people are putting fear in our city and Channel 4 is validating it. This is the kind of “youth” culture that we all suffer from.

    A good idea yes, but we as designer have a responsibility towards the content we put out there and frankly I believe this is cynical and irresponsible. 

  • Anonymous

    The things that are happening in this promo are not London specific. This promo would’ve been right at home in New York, L.A, Melbourne, Paris etc etc.  Kids do the darndest things all around the world. The only reason this is ‘topical’ is by coincidence.

    Also it makes me laugh how you ask if this was done in poor taste when it was made a very long time before the riots.

    • Yes, aware this been running long time before the riots. I guess you belong to ‘pure coincidence’ camp, then?

      The question was meant to trigger discussion, not ironical, not implying anything. The ‘poor taste’ phrase is more about the opinion reflected by folks like Jing and Luca above where the promo seems to ‘validate’ unruly behaviour like riding your BMX onto people’s cars. (I’m sure some people out there would say this is perfectly harmless teenage behaviour, again, I am not taking sides). Not about the timing with the riots. 
      Of course I’m aware that the timing is purely coincidental, but I am using this opportunity to initiate a discussion on all the topics I mentioned above (in the reply to Robert Grainger).

      • The video has been now removed, a very sensible thing to do.

        • It still plays for me? which link did you go to?

        • It still plays for me? which link did you go to?

  • Highly charged content? I don’t see it … a bit of music on the streets of a city. A bit of parkour and bike riding on cars is meant to appeal to the extreme sports demographic but there’s no lawlessness, violence or crime being depicted or glamorized, IMHO. Just a coincidence of trying to appeal to the youth culture by showing them in their element, no?

    • Not connecting the two in a direct way, Bran. Just a coincidence that a friend showed this to me, again, we were talking about how coincidental the whole thing is. But I took all that as an opportunity to start this discussion, because I read on the threads on youtube, that people were offended about how this clip seems to condone young people misbehaving. I personally can see both sides of the argument.

    • Not connecting the two in a direct way, Bran. Just a coincidence that a friend showed this to me, again, we were talking about how coincidental the whole thing is. But I took all that as an opportunity to start this discussion, because I read on the threads on youtube, that people were offended about how this clip seems to condone young people misbehaving. I personally can see both sides of the argument.

    • Not connecting the two in a direct way, Bran. Just a coincidence that a friend showed this to me, again, we were talking about how coincidental the whole thing is. But I took all that as an opportunity to start this discussion, because I read on the threads on youtube, that people were offended about how this clip seems to condone young people misbehaving. I personally can see both sides of the argument.

  • Great stuff.  Easy enough to disassociate film/art…etc from real world events regardless of how similar, whether intentional or not, they may be. “Offensive, perverse, morally corrupt & just plain wrong” are descriptions applied to creative efforts throughout history…..

  • Who is the white artist in the begging of the spot? 

    • Anonymous

      Professor Green “City Of Gold”.

  • Anonymous
  • Wow guys, such an interesting discussion is going on here. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to write in and contribute to it!

  • Wow guys, such an interesting discussion is going on here. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to write in and contribute to it!

  • UK is in a bit of a bad place right now. I wouldn’t worry about Youtube comments, they tend to bring out the dregs in hoards. But there does seem to be a lot of misunderstanding swirling around and Im starting to feel a bit sick.
    ‘British Street Culture’, Bboys, street artists, graffers, skaters and a whole other load of different groups tend to be lumped in as ‘Street culture’ even though they are all quite different with there own little nuances. Most BMXers wouldn’t listen to garage, rap even though this is the soundtrack to the ad.Now since the riots anybody with a hody, or cap or any culture remotely cult is being condemned. The whole thing is talked about by lots of people as though its a race issue, instead of a class one.But there is a bigger issue here. Most of the ‘youth’ out there who really rap, paint, dance, skate or whatever are quite dedicated. Many are very talented. Young people being part of a subculture has been the norm since teenagers came into existence. However due to the riots, which happened due to a potent and interesting mix of catalysts, some very deep and entrenched like, mistrust of the police, bad parenting/education , along with the current repression, consumerist culture, no discipline, the shooting, the list is endless. But i can tell you this, the riots had nothing to do with graffiti or rap, or skating or any of the things shown in the ad and linking them so is ridiculous. Linking British grime or garage with chavism is misinformed. Lucia de Salvia, you are making very naive and misinformed comments. As a black student at the London college of communication part of the university of the arts London, I can tell you, yes there are many white middle class (is that a crime) but most ‘arty’ types are not trying to be anything but themselves. Many of us live in Peckham, New Cross and Hackney because that is all we can afford in London this great, yet expensive city.Jing Zhang you fail to take note of the are, clothes, soundtrack, extreme sports many of which are aspects of ‘street culture’Bran Dougherty-Johns is right many connections are sparse,although why they had the police scenes is beyond me.Yes, the riots were terrible. But please dont sit at home watching the news and then make sweeping statements about a whole bunch of people who you never interact with. Many young people did not get involved. 

  • Everything aside, it was loads of fun to make.

  • Everything aside, it was loads of fun to make.

  • christopher Lopez

    This is a similar discussion that was a huge debate twenty years ago about NWA, PUBLIC ENEMY, the LAPD and the Rodney King / LA riots. It was as if these artists were exclaiming some latent truth about their existence/their reality through their controversial music for years. Which was finally revealed  to the world on the grandest scale imaginable, through the video tape and the subsequent verdict /riots.