Bates uses big name actors in Sky TV push

Sky has signed up three of Britain's most familiar TV actors for

new advertising targeted at potential customers bemused by the plethora

of digital TV offerings.

Ian Richardson, star of House of Cards, James Fleet, from the Vicar of

Dibley, and Felicity Kendall, who rose to fame in The Good Life comedy

series, link in a new commercial to drive sales of Sky's


Bates UK has produced the commercial, part of a £12 million spend

by the broadcaster to increase subscriber numbers from the current 5.3

million to seven million by the end of next year.

In the film, Richardson plays a too-clever-by-half barrister

cross-examining an accused man (Fleet) before a judge (Kendall) whose

case collapses because he thinks digital TV will allow him access to

only four movie channels.

Toby Hoare, the Bates UK group chief executive, said the use of quality

actors was not an attempt to take Sky further upmarket but to mark it

out as the leading digital broadcaster.

"Three years ago Sky was still a maverick brand," he commented. "But by

using actors of real stature we're presenting Sky as a quality


He added: "Obviously, Richardson, Fleet and Kendall didn't work for

nothing but they didn't cost thousands of pounds. I think they felt that

promoting a television channel rather than corn flakes wouldn't cheapen

their image."

As in an earlier commercial featuring the footballer-turned-actor Vinnie

Jones, Sky's aim is to clarify and simplify the increasingly complex

offerings embracing everything from ITV Digital to cable companies.

The campaign aims to establish Sky's mini-dish as the gateway to more

choice for viewers as well as promoting its unique interactive


"We want to show Sky is not just about flashy camera angles and David

Beckham interviews," Hoare said.

The commercial was written by Andy McGuinness, art directed by Dick

Dunford and directed by Colin Gregg for Stark Films. Media is being

planned and bought by Universal McCann.

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