Disney launches ad-funded channel

The tough-guy actor Ray Winstone has been drafted in by Disney to launch its first wholly ad-funded UK channel under the theme "TV with a big personality".

The Sexy Beast star is fronting a spot breaking nationally at the end of this week in advance of the free-to-view channel starting transmission on 27 September.

The work is the first to be produced by Barrett Cernis since the agency picked up the creative brief to launch ABC1, Disney's first non-branded, wholly owned TV channel outside the US.

ABC1 marks Disney's attempt to capitalise on the growing penetration of Freeview in the UK, which is now approaching the three million household mark.

Programmes will include General Hospital, the longest-running TV soap in the US, and Sports Night, a sitcom based on a sports news programme, as well as familiar series such as Ellen and Home Improvement.

The ad shows Winstone switching between posh and cockney accents to illustrate the diversity of ABC1's offering. "Do yourself a big favour. Watch it," he tells viewers. It was written by Jonathan Eley, art directed by Ray Barrett and directed by Mitch Walker through Annex Films.

"Winstone is right because he can deliver the message without getting in its way," Justin Cernis, the Barrett Cernis managing director, said.

Carat is handling media planning and buying for the campaign, which will run on terrestrial and Freeview channels and is supported by press, poster and magazine ads.

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