Benedict Cumberbatch and Gary Barlow to feature in new YouView television ad campaign

Sherlock and X Factor mainstays join Doctor Who's Daleks, Larry Hagman from Dallas and Downton Abbey stars in £10m internet-TV push

Benedict Cumberbatch and Gary Barlow are among the stars to feature in a new £10m ad campaign for the video-on-demand service YouView.

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YouView, which uses a TV aerial signal, a broadband connection and a set-top digibox to provide both live and catch-up programming on a normal TV screen, has been developed as a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Arqiva and TalkTalk. The subscription-free service has been pitched as a potential successor to Freeview as the number one rival to pay TV providers Sky and Virgin.

Commercials for the service featuring X Factor judge Barlow, Sherlock star Cumberbatch, Doctor Who’s Daleks, Dallas’s Larry Hagman and members of the Downton Abbey cast will begin airing in Britain over the weekend.

The ads will feature likenesses of the celebrities projected onto buildings across the country and boast the tagline “Extraordinary TV for everyone.”

Ad slots have been bought during Saturday evening’s edition of The X Factor on ITV1, and commercials for the service will also run simultaneously on Channels 4 and 5.

The TV ads will be supported by a nationwide newspaper and poster campaign, which will emphasise YouView’s features such as catch-up TV, on-demand content and the ability to record shows.

YouView’s chief executive Richard Halton welcomed the chance to get the brand name out to a wider audience, saying: “This is YouView hitting the public airwaves.”

“The brand is well-known in the media village but now it is about the public. The scale of the marketing budget is pretty heavy from launch. TV is still the biggest medium for reaching a mass audience, especially for launching a brand no one has really heard of.”

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YouView was officially launched in July 2012 following a longer-than-expected development period. Speaking at the launch, YouView’s chairman Lord Sugar said of the product: “You won’t want another box – this is the only one you will need.”