Gary Barlow and Benedict Cumberbatch are to feature in YouView‘s £10m launch advertising campaign this weekend, as the long-delayed video-on-demand service attempts to convince consumers that it represents the future of TV.
YouView – a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, Channel 5, Arqiva and TalkTalk – aims to replace Freeview as a subscription-free interactive TV service to rival pay-TV giants BSkyB and Virgin Media.
The launch campaign will focus heavily on TV advertising. Spots have been bought during ITV1’s The X Factor on Saturday with ads running simultaneously on Channel 4 and Channel 5, supported by a national newspaper and poster campaign.
YouView’s TV ad features stars and characters from the biggest shows the venture partners air – including The X Factor’s Barlow, Sherlock’s Cumberbatch, Doctor Who’s Daleks, , Dallas’s Larry Hagman and Downton Abbey – seen projected on buildings across the UK.
“This is YouView hitting the public airwaves,” said the YouView chief executive, Richard Halton. “The brand is well-known in the media village but now it is about the public. The scale of the marketing budget is pretty heavy from launch. TV is still the biggest medium for reaching a mass audience, especially for launching a brand no one has really heard of.”
A series of press and poster ads aim to reinforce YouView features such as recording shows, catch-up TV and on-demand content.
A prime target for the campaign is the 10m-plus Freeview households that might be persuaded to upgrade to an enhanced TV service.
The ad campaign runs with the strapline “Extraordinary for everyone”.
YouView’s marketing budget was officially set in late 2009 at £48.4m up to the end of four years of operation, according to BBC Trust documents. The partners agreed to invest up to £115m between them over the same period.
However, YouView’s longer-than-expected development period, means that the partners have already spent £70m between them, according to the project’s chairman Sir Alan Sugar. The launch comes more than 18 months after initial business plan projections of early 2011.
This leaves about £45m to spend over the next four years, with the marketing budget a casualty. Halton refused to comment on the scale of the budget, but admitted that it would not be anywhere near the original 2009 figure.
Media buying sources estimate the budget could have dropped by about half, but that YouView will need to commit at least £10m in its first year to give the brand a chance of establishing itself.
YouView’s ad campaign has been created by Adam & Eve, the agency most famous for John Lewis’s Christmas ads, with media planning and buying by OMD.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Gary Barlow feature in £10m YouView push
Video-on-demand service aims to replace Freeview as a subscription-free alternative to BSkyB and Virgin Media
YouView boxes went on sale in 800 stores, including John Lewis, Argos and Comet, in July priced at £299. Their maker, Humax, recently dropped the price to £279 and some observers expect the price to be lowered further still in the runup to Christmas.
At a launch briefing for the media in July, Sugar said that he expected much of the marketing effort to be made by BT and TalkTalk when they launched ad campaigns to push their YouView boxes to customers.
TalkTalk and BT are effectively offering their YouView set-top boxes for free to customers who sign up for bundled packages of TV, broadband and phone line.