Nicole Greiner is a research analyst at VAST MEDIA, a media research and consulting company based in Berlin that provides international television industry leaders with qualitative competitive market analysis of digital entertainment and content marketing.
Promoting the March launch of E4's upcoming comedy drama "The Aliens", which depicts a world in which aliens have landed on earth, Channel 4's creative agency 4Creative initiated an extensive multi-platform campaign under the slogan 'Fight Human Oppression'. Video messages from the Alien League, a rebel group featured in the drama, interrupted several shows across the Channel 4 network as well as on the radio, YouTube and in the cinema.
In the series, humans and aliens live separated by a wall, with the aliens living in a ghetto-like area. The 20-to 40-second clips feature a female member of the Alien League, calling for help to fight the human oppression before she gets dragged away by human boarder guards. At the end, viewers are called upon to join the Alien League and visit the dedicated alienleague.co.uk.
The video messages took over across all Channel 4 channels starting at 10pm on February 4th, 2016, interrupting various C4 promos for a week. Fake ads, such as a saccharine holiday ad, were created and also shown on ITV and Sky channels. The affected E4 shows included "Virtually Famous", "Red Tube" and a "Gogglebox" repeat. Popular YouTubers and other social influencers also joined in and had some of their videos 'hijacked' by the Alien League.
Additionally, fake radio ads for butter, car insurance and toilet paper were interrupted by an audio message from the Alien League. Moviegoers were also affected by the innovative campaign since idents of cinema advertising agencies Digital Cinema Media’s (DCM) and Pearl & Dean were also interrupted by the clips.
Furthermore, the site provides a few images along with a call-to-action to fight human oppression. A timeline reveals background information on the human oppression in the series. Alien League posters can also be downloaded. Visitors have the opportunity to enter a competition to win tickets to an exclusive launch party which is also attended by cast and crew members. Entries were submitted from February 4th through February 15th by completing a form.
The campaign did not only take place on TV, on the radio, in cinemas and on YouTube, but also on social media, where the accounts of E4 and its affiliated channels and programs also got 'hacked'.