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
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.