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BBC Broadcast Devises Humorous Image for Sci Fi Channel

Capitalizing on the success of new programming such as TRIPPING THE RIFT, SCARE TACTICS and MAD, MAD HOUSE designed to attract younger demographics, Sci Fi Channel commissioned BBC Broadcast, the BBC's commercial creative agency, to develop concept and scripts for the network's new on-air branding campaign, set to launch June 7 nationwide. The campaign also marks BBC Broadcast's first American-based project since announcing its earlier expansion into the U.S.

"SCI FI is all about imagination and limitless possibilities," explained Dave Howe, evp of marketing and brand strategy Sci Fi Channel. "This campaign brilliantly reflects these qualities by bringing a level of wit and warmth that people don't expect from Sci Fi. This has been a great creative collaboration with BBC Broadcast that's given us two characters that capture the imagination and spirit of the channel and that we can continue to develop and have fun with in the future.

Expanding on the network's new positioning and "If" on-air identity campaign, which earned numerous industry awards and significant audience attention, BBC Broadcast created a series of four :30 promotional spots featuring Vince and Steve, two average guys who, when faced with tricky situations, experience what can only be referred to as unexpected "Sci Fi moments."

In one of the four spots, for example, Vince and Steve are mocked by a muscular bodybuilder as they attempt to lift weights at their local gym. Not to be intimidated, the duo watches in amazement when, upon hearing a loud hissing sound, the showy body builder begins to deflate. In another spot, an old woman comes to the aid of Vince and Steve when they're being mugged in a parking lot. When the muggers turn on the old woman, the demonic gleam in her eye reveals that she's not quite what she seems. Giving the muggers a nightmarish taste of their own medicine, she totters happily away leaving the guys open-mouthed in amazement. Vince and Steve also have "Sci Fi moments" at a nightclub. One occurs when the hunky doorman informs them of the club policy, "gentlemen must be escorted by a lady." Determined to be admitted, but not wanting to risk being beaten-up, Vince simply turns into a woman. And, finally, Vince seems virtually unaffected while making out with a gorgeous brunette at the bar as Steve observes from afar. As the woman continues her best moves on Vince, Steve's hair becomes ruffled, lipstick marks appear on his cheek and invisible hands rip open his shirt.

Nigel Cole, global business director for BBC Broadcast, said, "Making the characters and scripts wry, relevant and funny was a critical part of the process and involved a close and truly collaborative relationship between the BBC Broadcast team and Sci Fi's creative staff. Overall, the process was as much fun as it was informative and we look forward to future collaborations with Sci Fi Channel. The project also served as a great introduction to working with clients in the U.S."

The four branding spots were directed by Craig Gillespie and produced by commercial production company, MJZ (Morton Jankel Zander). To execute the campaign's more outlandish moments, Sci Fi brought in legendary Hollywood effects wizards and prosthetic experts from Stan Winston Studios and utilized the specialty post-production services of Gray Matter FX.

BBC Broadcast ( is a commercial media services business wholly owned by the BBC and launched in 2002. BBC Broadcast offers a comprehensive range of services to play-out, publish, promote and provide media access for content across all media platforms. BBC Broadcast also provides services to a myriad of BBC and commercial broadcast platforms, including 37 public service and commercial television channels, five national radio networks, 39 local radio stations and BBCi, the corporation's online initiative.