On the subject of Television PR

Londoners stunned by Sky 1′s imaginary friend stunt

On February 24th, 2015 James wrote on the subject of PR Stunt,PR Stunts,Publicity Stunts,Television PR,Viral Video PR.

Just because you can’t see someone’s imaginary friend, it doesn’t meant that they’re not real.

The prank was set up to promote the third series of Sky1′s award winning comedy Moone Boy, written by Chris O’Dowd, and starring the Irish funnyman as a young boy’s imaginary friend.

Matthew Arnold, Marketing Manager, Sky 1 says: “In celebrating Moone Boy’s return to Sky 1 on March 2nd, we wanted to have a bit of fun with one of the show’s central themes – the joy of having a make-believe friend.

Moone Boy is the story a young boy and his imaginary friend, so we thought this prank was the perfect way to celebrate the launch of series 3 of the show and connect the public to the life of Martin Moone and his own imaginary friend played by Chris O’Dowd.”

The brand new series of Moone Boy airs Monday 2nd March at 9pm on Sky 1.

Fortitude Polar Bear Roams London

On January 27th, 2015 admin wrote on the subject of Consumer PR,creative publicity,Drama PR,Entertainment Brands,Event PR,Experiential Marketing,Online PR,PR Stunt,PR Stunts,Publicity Stunts,Television PR.

· Commuters stunned as Sky Atlantic unleashes hyper-realistic, full sized ‘adult Polar Bear’ on the streets of London
· Activation celebrates the launch of arctic based crime drama ‘Fortitude’
· Intricate semi-animatronic design took 19 designers two months to construct
· Bear animated by two character actors from hit West End show ‘War Horse’

LONDON, Tuesday 27th January: An 8 ft long, fully animated ‘adult male polar bear’ was unleashed on the freezing streets of London this morning to mark the launch of Sky Atlantic’s hotly anticipated arctic crime drama ‘Fortitude’.

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The bear was spotted at locations across the capital, including Hampstead Heath, Charing Cross Underground and the South Bank.

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The unique ultra-realistic build was created by a team of Hollywood special effects experts and was commissioned by Sky Atlantic to celebrate the launch of its gripping new thriller, Fortitude, premiering on Thursday 29th January at 9pm. The series boasts an all-star cast including Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci, acting legend Michael Gambon and Christopher Eccleston. With a stellar cast, the critically acclaimed 11-episode thriller is set to wow audiences thanks to its compelling plot and the jaw dropping cinematography.

A team of 19 prop specialists spent eight weeks designing and building the realistic replica animal.

 

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There were six to eight people working on the costume at any one time, using over 60 types of materials which included 90 square foot of sheet fur.

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The finish of the head was achieved using a process known as flocking, which involves feeding individual strands of nylon hair into the skull and then using an electrostatic current which causes the hairs to stand up on end. Over the top of the flock longer hairs are individually hand punched into place in directions seen in natural growth.

 

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The highly sophisticated prop uses internal monitors linked to hidden cameras, allowing the two performers inside to see. The puppeteers, who spent three years working together as ‘Joey’ in the award-winning West End production of War Horse, studied footage of real polar bears before spending five days rehearsing in order to get the gait and other movements right.

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Zai Bennett, Director of Sky Atlantic, says, “In Fortitude, there are 3000 polar bears to 713 residents. Polar bears are the most dangerous animal on land and present an ever present threat to Fortitude’s inhabitants. To launch our new Arctic-noir thriller we wanted to bring a realistic polar bear to the streets of London to give people an up close experience of what it must be like to come face to face with one of the biggest, but uncredited stars of our new show.”

Pictures available from here

Press Contact:: Taylor Herring

 

Big Stig! Giant Statue Of Top Gear Star On European Road Trip

On January 25th, 2015 James wrote on the subject of Car PR,Consumer PR,creative publicity,PR Stunts,Publicity Stunts,Television Industry PR,Television PR.

“Some say he is a giant, measuring nine metres in height, and travels around on the back of a flatbed truck. All we know is, he’s called The Stig.”

  • A giant 9 metre high effigy of The Stig loaded onto a flatbed truck at Top Gear HQ, Dunsfold
  • Marks start of a trip through Europe to Warsaw Poland where The Stig will be ‘erected’  adjacent to the city’s most famous landmark; The Palace of Science and Culture
  • Stunt marks the launch of new global channel BBC Brit

Sunday 25th January 2015: Special Delivery Stig! Giant Stig departs for Poland to mark the launch of new global TV channel BBC Brit.

The 9 metre high effigy of the Top Gear star which will make its way through Europe before arriving at Warsaw, Poland to mark the launch of the new global channel from BBC Worldwide.

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The statue will be erected in Warsaw adjacent to the city’s most famous landmark, The Palace of Science and Culture later this week to celebrate the international channel making its debut on 1 February 2015.

The Stig; star of the worldwide hit show Top Gear has been immortalised as a giant 30ft high statue to celebrate the launch of the new global TV channel BBC Brit.

The model, which is made from fibre-glass, took a team of three sculptors over two months to design, construct and paint.

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The giant sculpture of The Stig’s head and torso alone measures 12 feet, equivalent to the height of a double decker bus.

The Stig departed from Top Gear HQ at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey for a three day journey through Europe which will see #BigStig call in at Amsterdam and Berlin before arriving in Warsaw, Poland where BBC Brit will launch on the 1st February 2015.

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Amanda Hill, Chief Brands Officer, BBC Worldwide says: “BBC Brit will be the new home of Top Gear in Poland so what better way to mark this than by taking them a giant Stig! Fans will be able to spot him on the roads of England, Holland and Germany, he’s impossible to miss!” ’

BBC BRIT offers premium factual entertainment that is intelligent but irreverent. Male-skewing but with broader appeal, it blends expertise with entertainment and fact with fun. The channel will become the exclusive home of Top Gear and covers a rich variety of subjects: cars; science; adventure; business; life-changing moments; extreme characters; quirky eccentrics and plenty of laughs.

Pictures available HERE

Press Contact: Taylor Herring +44 208 206 5151

Estate agents and traffic wardens will be replaced by ROBOTS in 50 years, SyFy expert predicts

On January 20th, 2015 James wrote on the subject of PR Stunts,Publicity Stunts,Technology PR,Television PR.

Exclusive research commissioned to mark the launch of new TV series, Extant, on Syfy

Human workers across a plethora of service sectors and caring professions could be replaced by robots within the next 50 years according to leading British scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock. 

She predicts that some therapeutic care for the elderly and even our children, as well as maligned service sector jobs such as estate agents, traffic wardens and call centre workers could to be replaced by Artificially Intelligent (AI) systems within our lifetimes.

Maggie Aderin-Pocock worked with an artist to reveal her vision of how robots might be used by humans in the future – and according to her they could be very busy indeed, possibly giving us parking tickets and even selling us houses!

Scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock reveals her vision of the futu

These images of the future of AI were commissioned to celebrate the launch of new TV series Extant, which starts on Tuesday 20 January at 9pm on Syfy. 

The series, from Stephen Spielberg and starring Halle Berry, explores the story of a female astronaut trying to reconnect with her husband and unique son, a prototype android called a ‘humanich’, after returning from a year in outer space.

Aderin-Pocock suggested that the rapid advances in technology achieved this century are projected to continue at an astonishing rate, allowing for fully functioning artificial intelligence to no longer be limited to the realms of science fiction. In fact, she predicts that robots will soon be able to replace humans in many areas of the workplace, taking on a variety of jobs across the service and caring sectors.

Scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock reveals her vision of the futu

She states that “to date, mechanisation has generally been used to do the manual, repetitive stuff that we don’t want to do,” explaining that this attitude towards the use of robots is likely to continue “once independently-intelligent beings are manufactured”. Traffic wardens (65%), estate agents (40%) and car salesman (33%) could soon be lost to history as research specially commissioned by Syfy asked 2,000 respondents which jobs they thought were most unpopular and could be amongst the first to go.

Scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock reveals her vision of the futu

The idea of using simplified forms of AI technology in the caring sector is already being tested, with therapeutic robots that respond to the user’s tone and facial expressions, and Dr Aderin-Pocock can only see this increasing.

Since we are living in an aging population, in the future many more resources will be spent on the care of the elderly and there is likely to be an increase in age-related problems such as dementia. Recent studies indicate that external mental stimulation and physical interaction increases the quality of life of older people in care homes. In response to this, there has been a development in therapeutic robots which have shown to have a beneficial effect on many, especially dementia sufferers.

Aderin-Pocock asks “which would you prefer to be in the hands of an overworked, underpaid, disenfranchised worker doing long hours for minimum pay, or a therapeutic robot designed to respond to your every need and engage with you intelligently no matter how many times you have asked the same question? Imagine then, that this unit has access to relevant information about an individual’s past, so it can respond to and converse with the person; finding ways to simulate their thinking as well as monitoring vital signs in order to flag changes early.”

But this could just be the beginning, once we are comfortable with the use of AI technology in the home and see its many benefits, attitudes towards its more general use may be transformed. Aderin-Pocock believes that this technology could filter down to other caring jobs. “Imagine parents or schools being supported by a dedicated childcare unit – your child’s personal friend and teacher; a unit that delivers the right levels of work and play, stimulating our kids to achieve more!”

Further advances in technology could also lead to humans investing in android companions with Aderin-Pocock suggesting wryly that there could be advantages to having a robot companion; “I can see the adverts now… ‘he won’t leave the seat up’”.

Some even believe that in the longer term these ‘perfect partners’ could “lead to a decline in populations, with our needs being fulfilled by artificial relationships restricting opportunities to procreate”. If we extrapolate even further we could one day see the creation “childlike androids that display just the right amount of independence to be interesting but not so much that they become difficult”.  Not a world away from the ‘humanichs’ featured in Extant and the ideas seen in the film AI.  “We are unlikely to see this sort of thing in our lifetimes if it happens at all but it is interesting to imagine the possibilities” said Aderin-Pocock.

 But, although this technological advancement could have a hugely positive impact on our standard of living, it cannot be ignored that it will also affect our employment prospects. If our jobs are completed more efficiently by AI, what room is left for humans? Nearly half of respondents to the Syfy survey (48%) revealed that advances in technology make them fear for their job in future, with 23% admitting that they think a robot could do their job better or more efficiently than they can. But it is not all bad news says Aderin-Pocock as “history has shown that the advance of technology often leaves us free to explore new avenues and we have adapted accordingly.”

Robots already play a vital role in space exploration where they literally go “where no man has gone before” and their use in the future is likely to increase. But what will we be doing with all our extra time? Aderin-Pocock predicts that many of us will be turning to tourism and some of it will be in space. It seems far-fetched now, but she anticipates a boom in human space travel where space becomes accessible to all of us. “It is a revolution we have seen before,” says Aderin-Pocock, “when the Wright Brothers made their first flight, no one was anticipating Easyjet a mere 100 years later – space tourism could go the same way with no-frills rockets lifting off to space hotels.” She explains that the cost of an out-of-this-world adventure could soon be within reach for mass consumers  as “prices come down due to commercial demand in the same way we have seen with computers, mobile phones and airline flights, all of which were once prohibitively expensive.” But looking at the challenges faced by Virgin Galactic and other players in the field, it may take longer than the evolution in air travel but she thinks that we will get there “within the next 40 years.”

Dr Maggie Alderin-Pocock says, “All this may seem the stuff of science fiction, but actually when you look more closely, science fiction has often led the way for technology development. Look at Captain Kirk’s communicator and tell me that it’s not a mobile phone – and his system probably did less than the latest smartphones we have today.”

 Extant starts on Tuesday 20 January at 9pm on Syfy

 

The Apprentice Returns

On October 7th, 2014 James wrote on the subject of Celebrity PR,Television PR,The Apprentice.

The Apprentice returns on Tuesday 14th October 2014 at 9pm on BBC One and BBC One HD for a tenth series, as Lord Sugar and his advisors, Nick Hewer and Karren Brady, put a new group of candidates through the toughest business test going – with a twist right from the start.

Upping the ante this year, Lord Sugar will be testing the business know-how of not 16 but 20 potential business partners in the battle for his investment. Viewers will be treated to a double dose of boardroom drama in the first week as the second episode airs on Wednesday 15th October, with the series then continuing on Wednesdays at 9pm on BBC One.

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Over 12 weeks, the 20 candidates must compete to stay out of the firing line in a bid to win the £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar by proving their skills in sales, creativity, leadership, strategy and business insight in a series of testing tasks.

They all think they have what it takes, but only one candidate can win the final battle for boardroom supremacy.

This year’s budding business partners come from a diverse range of careers and backgrounds; from law and social care to marketing and management, and from fitness and fashion to accountancy and technology.

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Standing L-R: Solomon Akhtar, Roisin Hogan, Chiles Cartwright, Jemma Bird, EllaJade Bitton, Scott McCulloch, Nurun Ahmed, Mark Wright, Lindsay Booth, Bianca Miller, Sarah Dales, Pamela Uddin, Lauren Riley, Sanjay Sood-Smith, Katie Bulmer-Cooke

Seated Front L-R: Daniel Lassman, Felipe Alviar-Baquero, Robert Goodwin, James Hill, Steven Ugoalah

Lord Sugar is once again joined by his trusted advisors Nick and Karren, who are on hand to observe the candidates throughout each task and report back on the successes and failures that they have seen.

When Lord Sugar welcomes the candidates to the boardroom for the first time, he starts by revealing the key difference to this year’s process: “Now, this is the tenth year that we have been in this boardroom, and so on this special occasion I’m going to start things off a little bit differently. What I’ve decided to do is to kick off with 20 candidates, 10 boys and 10 girls. That’s the good news. Here’s possibly not such good news. The process will still last 12 weeks. That means that on certain occasions I may decide to dispose of more than one candidate at a time. Be prepared.” With more candidates being given the opportunity to compete for his investment, he then offers a few words of advice about the prize they are all striving for: “This deal is all about getting a £250,000 injection into a company that both of us will own on a 50:50 basis. I won’t be working, you will be working. I will be advising and mentoring.”

Lord Sugar kicks off the series by splitting the candidates into two teams – girls vs boys. He challenges them to sell products which have all appeared in the first task of the last nine series including sausages, flowers, coffee and fruit.  They are also given cash with which to add value to the products and can choose whether to sell the items directly to the public or in bulk to trade.

With the aim of making as much money as possible, they must strategize carefully and plan their selling time wisely. But will the candidates prove they can better the last nine years of selling in this supersized sales task? As the series progresses the candidates will be put through their paces in a variety of challenging tasks.

These include designing an innovative wearable technology product, creating an online video channel, running package coach tours, securing and fulfilling orders for a home fragrance range, manufacturing and selling a new board game and launching their own soft drinks brand. Each task will, as always, be followed by a showdown in the boardroom.

Which candidates will prove cut-throat competitors and who will play it safe?  When the losing team returns to face Lord Sugar, who will find their mistakes have led them to hear the infamous words ‘You’re Fired!’?

The ever-popular companion show The Apprentice: You’re Fired! will also return to air on BBC Two immediately after the main programme.  Host Dara O Briain will reflect on the fired candidate’s time on the series, delving into their best moments and toughest times, as they are quizzed by a panel of business experts and celebrity fans.

Before the tenth series kicks off, fans can also relive their favourite moments of the past decade with Ten Years of The Apprentice, airing 13th October on BBC One.  Narrated by Matt Edmondson, it will take a sideways glance at the last decade of Britain’s best-loved business show.

With the help of Nick, Karren and Lord Sugar himself, we’ll take an irreverent rummage through the boardroom store cupboard and reminisce over moments which had viewers shouting at their televisions or high-fiving in celebration the first time round; from the quest for a kosher chicken in Marrakesh to Series Nine’s infamous ‘abdication’. The official Apprentice website – www.bbc.co.uk/apprentice - will host candidate biographies and audition tapes, as well as information about the series and preview clips of upcoming episodes.

You can also catch up with all The Apprentice action on the official Apprentice Twitter (@bbcapprentice and #theapprentice) and Facebook (facebook.com/BBCApprentice) channels.

The Apprentice is a Boundless production for BBC One. Cate Hall and Francesca Maudslay are the Executive Producers; Stephen Day is the Series Editor and Jo Wallace is the Commissioning Editor for the BBC.

Press Information: Contact Taylor Herring PR    

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