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By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

July 30, 2019 | 3 min read

Irreverant TV channel Dave is working with Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm) to get its viewers thinking about friendship by running a comedy festival during a full ad break.

Comedians including Lou Sanders, Natasia Demetriou, Alex Horne and Phil Wang featured in the specialised ad slot during Taskmaster, telling viewers to be the mate they wish they had. A slew of comics shared their views on friendship in place of ads with a call to action urging viewers to text a friend who is going through a tough time.

Coinciding with International Friendship Day, the spot was developed in partnership with Calm, a movement raising awareness around the fact suicide remains the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. The four-minute animated ad takeover was made by UKTV’s in-house creative team and features 17 comedians.

It picks up off the back of Dave's 2018 ‘Be The Mate You’d Want’ campaign, which ran in Dave’s airtime, print and out of home ads, as well as on radio across the Global network, on social media and on branded beer mats and coffee cups.

Luke Hales, Dave’s channel director, said: "We want to use Dave’s reach to encourage people to get in touch with friends who need a reminder that someone is thinking of them and someone cares. The Comedy Festival in an Ad Break is a unique Dave way of doing this.

"Funny and warm, and ultimately by encouraging men to reach out to their friends, we are supporting Calm’s mission to create a more positive and open culture when it comes to mental health."

Simon Gunning, chief executive of Calm, added: "We’re delighted to bring the next exciting phase of the ‘Be The Mate You’d Want’ campaign with Dave and UKTV to life.

"Comedy can be a fantastic platform for what may have traditionally been deemed difficult conversations around mental health and being there for your friends when things get tough. This partnership allows us to reach a broad audience with a funny and entertaining execution, all underpinned with an important message throughout."

Calm and Dave also co-produce a podcast, which sits in the top 20 iTunes chart for comedy.

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