Suicidal TV sets preparing to hurl themselves off clifftops and
running into the sea are the unlikely choices to launch Sky TV’s 140
digital channels to British audiences.
The spoof mass nervous breakdown occurs in a 90-second commercial
breaking nationally this Thursday, opening what is expected to be a
bitter battle for viewers between Rupert Murdoch’s Sky and the rival
In the M&C Saatchi film, TV sets thrash around their rooms, lash
themselves with their own wires and explode in frustration at not being
allowed to be more versatile.
The advertising contains no overt sales pitch - although its long-term
objective is to boost digital dish sales - but aims to usher in the
digital revolution with a dramatic illustration of its potential under
the theme: ’It’s what your TV’s been crying out for.’
Its appearance, kicking off a pounds 60 million above-the-line
initiative over the coming year, coincides with national press and
poster advertising as well as an internet campaign by New Media
The blockbuster commercial follows an unbranded print campaign which
appeared late last month, as well as a series of five-second TV ’teaser’
spots, which set the scene for the start of this week’s offensive.
Using TV sets to send their own messages is part of Sky’s strategy of
presenting a complex subject in such a way that consumers will not be
overwhelmed and intimidated by it. The advertising aims not only to
convert existing Sky subscribers to digital but, more importantly, to
win over the 14 million UK homes not yet receiving pay TV.
’The main target has got to be Middle England,’ Moray MacLennan, M&C
Saatchi’s joint chief executive, said. ’Sky suffers from a blue-collar
image whereas the quality of its offering gives it definite ABC1
The art director, Malcolm Poynton, developed the ’frustrated TVs’ idea
with James Lowther, the agency’s joint creative director. Kevin Thomas
directed the commercial through Blink. Media planning and buying is
through Universal McCann.
Live Issue, page 15.