BBC backs return of 'Life on Mars' with claymation viral

LONDON - The return of hit BBC drama 'Life on Mars' is to be backed by a campaign full of the flavour of the 1970s and a viral that has its lead characters brought to life as 'Camberwick Green' style claymation characters.

'Life on Mars' tells the story of Sam Tyler, played by John Simm, a policeman working in the present day who has a car accident and wakes up to find himself back in 1973, working for the unreconstructed 'Sweeney'-style copper DCI Gene Hunt, played by Philip Glenister.

Breaking on January 27, the campaign will feature the 1970's BBC globe branding on all of its elements. Vintage posters, TV ads, radio spots and online viral including mobile and desktop downloads have all been created by Red Bee Media, alongside a spoof 1973 training manual penned by one of the show's central characters, DCI Hunt. The viral download features characters Tyler and Hunt in the guise of kids cult show 'Camberwick Green'.

The ad campaign for the new series will also feature an auction of Hunt's classic Ford Cortina, with all proceeds going to Comic Relief.

Set to air in February, the second series has been announced as the final run for the popular programme. However, The Times recently reported that the BBC has commissioned producer Kudos Film & TV to create a spin-off named 'Ashes to Ashes'. A US version of the show is also currently under production by ABC.

Ruth Shabi, Red Bee Media creative director, said: "The campaign echoes the programme by highlighting the contrast between crime busting as it was in the 1970's and how it is now. This gave us license to have some fun, creating something that is, ironically, really edgy in today's world of political correctness."

Anna Skelton, marketing manager for BBC One and drama, said: "This has been a great opportunity to develop a 360-degree campaign across all mediums, while capitalising on the nostalgia of the BBC One colour branding from the 1970s."

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