Client: Sky Television
Campaign: Launch of The Strangerers
PR Team: Sky One Publicity and The Wright Partnership
Timescale: August 1999 - 15 February 2000
For the first time in its history, Sky Television commissioned the
creation of a ten-part sitcom. The Strangerers was conceived by Red
Dwarf writer, Rob Grant. It is being tagged as a sci-fi road comedy and
centres on the coming to Earth of two alien vegetables, played by comedy
actor and chat show host Jack Docherty, and Mark Williams of BBC’s The
To position Sky, long considered merely a buyer and importer of comedy
shows, as a creator of new television comedy and to attract a large
audience for the start of the series.
To generate favourable press coverage and an awareness of the
forthcoming series. To support a concerted marketing/advertising
Strategy and Plan
The Wright Partnership and Sky One Publicity met series creator Rob
Grant, and the series’ director to discuss how an integrated PR and
marketing strategy could be formulated that would mirror the essence of
Wright came up with a design and style that would be used throughout all
areas of the series promotion.
The core audience was seen to be predominantly male 18-to 35-year olds,
and so a range of media were targeted that reflected this, including
national press and men’s magazines.
Because in the series the alien protagonists of the comedy had learned
everything they knew about Earth from watching 1950s B-movies, it was
decided that information would be disseminated to the press as if it
came from a secret Government ’mole’ - leaking information on the
aliens’ imminent arrival.
Journalists were invited to a vegetable juice-bar in Covent Garden and
met by a ’nameless’ person who handed over press-packs made to look like
top-secret government dossiers. These disclosed details of the series
and provided a mystery phone contact for further information.
They were then driven to a secret location for a top level briefing.
On departure from the film-set the press were handed photographs of
themselves taken while they were outside the juice-bar, letting them
know they were under observation.
On 12 February, members of the public were approached by people dressed
up as Preacherers, a variation on the alien characters in the show, on
the streets of London and handed flyers telling them to watch the skies
for an alien invasion the evening of the 15th - the date of the first
To back up the media coverage of the various stunts an interactive web
site, designed in-house at Sky, was dedicated to The Strangerers. Sky’s
interim results were presented on a CD-ROM that used images and artwork
from the programme, and billboard advertising was used across the
Measurement and Evaluation
There was coverage in national newspapers, including the Guardian, the
Daily Telegraph and the Sun, and various listings titles, including Sky
Now and What Satellite TV. Men’s consumer magazines Loaded, Front and
Esquire also featured the programme, as did SFX Magazine. Coverage
featured interviews with the stars and the series’ creator, Rob Grant,
as well as information on the programme itself.
The first broadcast of The Strangerers attracted the highest number of
viewers for a debut performance on UK satellite television, peaking at
The Strangerers campaign was a successful integration of PR and
marketing, the Wright Partnership and Sky One Publicity working in close
collaboration throughout. The media appreciated the off-beat aspect of
the campaign and entered into the spirit of it, although there have been
mixed reviews of the programme.