Advanced Television

Aliens to invade TV ad breaks

December 21, 2016

Aliens will suddenly appear on TV across the UK on Boxing Day (December 26th) to announce that they are coming to Earth in the latest TV ad from Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK.

The ad, The Broadcast, will premiere on UK broadcast TV on Boxing Day and is the first TV ad Thinkbox has made since concluding its highly successful trilogy of ads featuring Harvey the dog.

Thinkbox’s new ad is a tongue-in-cheek homage to classic science fiction films but with a very British flavour. It opens high above the Earth as a fleet of alien spaceships bear down on our planet. Their warlike-looking leader punches a button on his console and addresses the people below via live TV. His sudden appearance on TV screens everywhere, repeating the message “Oola Oola Zod”, galvanises the nation into a range of responses as varied as humanity itself; from blind panic and shock, to awe and unbridled enthusiasm.

We then watch as the country’s top brass, scientists and military converge on the landing site, as do UFO enthusiasts keen to fulfil a lifetime’s ambition: to welcome a being from another world. They gather. They wait, eyes glued to the night sky. We see the space-ship touch down in a cloud of smoke and light. Down the ramp thunders a six-toed alien, clad in armour, clutching a staff. “Oola Oola Zod!” he thunders triumphantly. He may have successfully moved the whole nation using TV, but there’s a twist in the tale…

Thinkbox’s new ad will appear on Boxing Day from 9pm in special ad breaks that mirror the ad’s story and extend the narrative across the whole break.

Thinkbox, through Mediacom, has collaborated with DFS, Lucozade and Sheba  to create one-off versions of their TV ads which are mysteriously interrupted by messages from the incoming extra-terrestrials trying to make contact with Earth.

Throughout the storytelling ad break, as the aliens get closer, their message gets clearer, culminating with the Thinkbox 60-second ad making its broadcast debut. The idea behind this collaboration is to create intrigue throughout the break, and provide viewers with a ‘penny drop’ moment at its end as they see the alien story revealed.

These creative media breaks will take place during Captain Phillips on ITV, Big Fat Quiz of the Year on Channel 4, Love Actually on ITV2, Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic, Conviction on Sky Living and Transformers on Sky One.

“Following the retirement of the star of Thinkbox’s previous TV ads – Harvey the dog is currently writing a memoir – we wanted to do something completely different in style and tone: something that entertains viewers, stands out in the ad break, and clearly shows the power of TV advertising,” advised Andrew MacGillivray, Marketing Director, Thinkbox.

“We believe this new TV ad brings to life the scale, cultural reach, impact and synchronicity of TV advertising. It shows that if you want to speak to the whole nation at the same time and have a genuine impact, then you use TV. Aliens are optional.”

“Letting another advertiser interrupt one of your ads sounds bonkers, but I think the whole break should be fun for the viewers, and will create extra cut-through for Lucozade Sport,” said Steven Hind, Head of Marketing, Lucozade Sport.

“The idea of advertisers working together on TV ad breaks to create innovation, intrigue and engagement really appeals to the team at DFS,” admitted Nick Ashworth, Head of Marketing Communications, DFS. “We saw a great response from consumers in terms of engagement and memorability to our creative in ITV’s Text Santa Knitted Ad Break last year. This is a fantastic opportunity to deliver something extra for everyone watching at this vital time of year for our business – and this definitely does!”

“We loved collaborating on Thinkbox’s storytelling ad break, using our extra-terrestrial friends to bring the concept that ‘Resistance is Futile’ to life in a different way,” added Katherine Horrocks, Communications Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mars Petcare UK. “This innovative idea allows Sheba to demonstrate the brand’s sense of humour and entertain viewers with a fresh new approach.”

Thinkbox’s TV campaigns are the most successful communications it has undertaken, building awareness of the organisation and the power of TV advertising and encouraging advertisers to get in contact to find out what TV can do for them.

According to Thinkbox, TV advertising is repeatedly proven to be the most effective form of advertising, creating the biggest long-term business effects and generating the most profit of any medium. Most recently, the first part of ‘Marketing in the digital age’, by Les Binet and Peter Field for the IPA, revealed that TV remains the most effective ad medium and is getting more effective. The study was co-sponsored by Google and Thinkbox.

The new Thinkbox TV ad will be screened across a variety of broadcast and on-demand TV channels represented by Thinkbox’s shareholders and their partner channels. Thinkbox’s shareholders are Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media, Turner Media Innovations, and UKTV who together represent over 99 per cent of commercial TV advertising revenue through their owned and partner TV channels.

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