UKTV’s Dave turns to experiential marketing to ‘take ourselves off the telly’

UKTV-owned comedy channel Dave intends to push for demo and event marketing in a bid to re-establish itself as an entertainment brand.

Nick Gilmer, UKTV’s Head of Marketing, has issued a call for brands and organizations to pitch ideas that Dave can engage in, with the ambition to launch both paid and funded projects in 2022.

“We’re starting to be an entertainment brand and we’re taking ourselves out of the TV, so it just feels right to do something that’s tangible and in the real world,” Gilmer says. “This can really take the Dave brand to the next level.”

Gilmer refers to his “Build Your Bar” campaign as a statement of intent. Launched last year, Dave offered fans the opportunity to purchase a £250 Flatpack pub similar to the one featured on his Meet The Richardsons show. “Every one of our shows comes with a fun opportunity to do these kinds of things.”

Known for her shows like Taskmaster, Hypothetical, and Big Zu’s Big Eats, Gilmer describes Dave as a comedy brand at heart, saying her ambition is to “provide moments of fun and be your funny companion that you can laugh with.” And he says, “This is our direction in marketing.”

Recently, he tells us, Dave partnered with Calm, a male suicide prevention charity, to host a mental health screening event at Murdock Barbers. It was, he says, “a great example of Dave as a living breathing proposition that is worth spreading and being talked about in a positive way.”

To unify this strategy, Gilmer’s marketing team is collaborating with UKTV’s PR team and reporters to implement “publish-worthy” media plans. “We don’t have the same marketing budgets as these big American entrants, but we’re great at it. Dave is a smart, nimble brand that transcends its weight.”

Increasing her social presence is key to developing Dave into an entertaining show. Gilmer identifies Facebook and YouTube as areas of focus, with plans to ramp up Dave’s original short programming on both.

Despite acknowledging the popularity of TikTok and Twitch, Gilmer says Facebook remains an important asset to his team – a departure from its predecessor, Cherie Cunningham. “Facebook is an interesting place and it reaches a huge number of people,” he says. “It’s as close as possible to social media broadcasting.”

Elsewhere, Gilmer’s strategic priority is getting audiences to watch Dave’s content on UKTV’s streaming platform, UKTV Play. With Dave having the largest young audience and the strongest brand awareness in the UKTV portfolio, the focus is on using Dave as a driver to bring younger audiences to UKTV Play and then bring them content from sister channels.

In 2021, Dave was able to increase its share in the 16-24 age group by 1.9%, says Gilmer, arguing that: “There is a myth that young people don’t watch TV anymore, but we’re seeing a lot of young audiences coming to Dave.” !”

And he adds that BBC Three’s recent return to sin provides further evidence. “I see this as an endorsement of UKTV’s strategy to support Dave as a line channel for younger audiences.”

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