Virgin1 unveils Muppet-like character to front channel

Virgin Media Television has created a new Muppet-like character called Red to become the face of its rebranded Virgin1 channel.

The broadcaster is already in discussions with programme sponsors about incorporating Red into on air activity.

VMTV brand and marketing director, Jeff Dodds, says the character was created as part of a strategy to reflect the Virgin1 brand personality as being “fun”, “cheeky” and “emotionally engaging”.

Red will appear on screens from June 9 and he will front all programme navigation and credit rolls. He will also appear in Virgin1 idents with other celebrities from the channel.

Dodds says it is already in discussions with three brands about integrating Red into their advertising. For example, if a brand is launching a new product, it could create sponsored idents featuring Red.

He adds while it is yet to secure the deals, activity is expected in either August or September.

The character was created by Red Bee Media alongside VMTV’s in-house creative team. The rebrand of the channel will also see the unveiling of a new logo and creative online elements.

Red will be launched into social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. He will also have a weekly podcast.

Dodds says it will also look to extend the presence of Red off screen and use him in stunts and events.

The rebrand comes as Virgin Media looks to sell off its TV channels. BSkyB is believed to have made an offer at a rate 60% higher than other bidders, according to reports.

It is understood that the satellite broadcaster has made an offer of an estimated £160m for the channels. Other bidders thought to be in the frame include Channel 4, RTL, Time Warner and NBC Universal.

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