Media: Strategy of the week - C4 looks for maximum impact with Black Friday

The channel wants a record audience for the final night of Friends. It will be a sad day for followers of Friends when the final episode airs in the UK tomorrow (28 May). And it will be an equally sad day for many others, as the uber-reality show Big Brother returns on the same evening for its fifth series.

To mark the event, which is set to see record numbers tuning into Channel 4, the station has spent £650,000 on a heavyweight TV, outdoor and press campaign branded "Black Friday".

Created by Boy Meets Girl S&J and Channel 4's in-house team, 4Creative, the branding acknowledges that Friday will be the end of an era for many Friends fans. It also reflects the darker elements of this year's Big Brother.

Bill Griffin, the marketing director at Channel 4, explains the objectives behind the campaign: "We wanted to create and maximise the sense of event around the evening, giving it real standout. Second, the campaign had to be resonant with the Channel 4 brand personality.

"Black Friday lets the viewers know that something unusual and impactful is happening in the true Channel 4 spirit."

The campaign, planned by Michaelides & Bednash, launched with a ten-second teaser ad on Channel 4 on 19 May. Teaser posters, bought through Posterscope, also appeared nationwide across 700 96- and 48-sheet poster sites from 15 May.

From 23 May, in the countdown to the end-of-week screening, the teasers were replaced by ads to explain what Black Friday is. Twenty-second TV trails showing dark characters in a fun light reflect that Black Friday actually refers to two light-hearted shows. Trails aired across a broad cross-section of Channel 4's entertainment programming, while Channel 4-branded Black Friday posters went up on the 700 sites.

A press campaign, bought by Manning Gottlieb OMD, used the same creative idea and ads appeared in Heat on 24 May. This positioning and the heavy outdoor presence targets the 16- to 34-year-old upmarket Friday night viewers that the shows are predominantly skewed towards.

However, Griffin says: "We have a broad target market with this campaign. Friends has been a perennial show that everybody has seen bits of over the past decade, and we want to get lapsed viewers intrigued as to how it will end. It's also about maximising the number of viewers turning up to the first showing of Big Brother."

In a bid to achieve this, ads will run in the Friday editions of national newspapers such as The Times and The Guardian. There will be 20,000 Black Friday-wrapped copies of the Evening Standard given away to commuters in London.

In addition, 20 sandwich boards featuring the line "The end is like, so nigh" will be found wandering up and down Oxford Street, giving out Black Friday badges.

"We've aimed to make the campaign imaginative but with real cut-through," Griffin says.

The two weeks of media presence for Black Friday should generate PR around these two flagship Channel 4 programmes. Whether the ads ensure that the evening's entertainment becomes an appointment to view or an excuse to go out is another matter.

Client: Channel 4

Agencies: Manning Gottlieb OMD, Michaelides & Bednash, Boy Meets Girl

S&J, 4Creative, Posterscope

Media used: TV, press, outdoor

Media idea: Create a sense of event around programming on 28 May with

the "Black Friday" label

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