Bold Channel 4 marketing stunt launches new cyber thriller

Channel 4 has launched its latest marketing campaign for the much anticipated new six-part cyber thriller The Undeclared War.

The campaign, produced by Channel 4’s multi-award winning in house creative agency 4Creative and planned by OMD UK, imagines the real-world consequences of a nationwide cyber-attack hitting the UK. 

Kicking off the campaign, a bold 100-second stunt film starring Adrian Lester in his role as Prime Minister Rt Hon Andrew Makinde and Simon Pegg in his role as Head of Operations at GCHQ Daniel Patrick in the series, delivered an urgent warning of imminent cyber threat to the United Kingdom in the style of an emergency government briefing. The film was launched simultaneously in a roadblock across Channel 4, E4, Film4 and More4 on Friday 10th June at 8.59pm as well as on Channel 4's Twitter page and across YouTube and Facebook in paid social.

Carrying on the narrative of a real-life threat to the country, in a 30-second radio advert launching on Saturday 11th June, the Prime Minister Rt Hon Andrew Makinde will issue a message that asserts “We have learnt that the UK is under threat of imminent cyberattack by an as-yet-unknown foreign power. Your safety is our priority” before the transmission is mysteriously cut short, undermining his words of assurance.

The campaign will be amplified by intriguing digital out of home posters featuring a leaked confidential message from GCHQ, which will be redacted before the public's eyes to reveal the tagline of the show: “The next front line is online”.

In digital and social, premium non-skippable 20 second in-stream trailers will run across Twitch, as well as a homepage takeover on the day of broadcast to target a cyber-interested audience. Clip trailers giving a teaser of the show will also run across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

The Undeclared War is a provocative six-part cyber-thriller, created, directed and co-written by multiple BAFTA-winner Peter Kosminsky. Set in a post-pandemic 2024 in the run-up to a British general election, the drama tracks a leading team of analysts buried in the heart of GCHQ secretly working to ward off a cyber-attack on the country’s electoral system. The series stars Hannah Khalique-Brown, Simon Pegg, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Edward Holcroft, Adrian Lester, Alex Jennings, German Segal, Tinatin Dalakishvili, Hattie Morahan, Ed Stoppard, Kerry Godliman and Mark Rylance.

Kosminsky directed all six episodes and has written four. Other writers include Declan Lawn, Adam Patterson, and Amelia Spencer. Kosminsky Executive Produced alongside Colin Callender and Noëlette Buckley for Playground. Robert Jones was the Producer.

Lynsey Atkin, Executive Creative Director, 4Creative, said: “It’s not often the darkest possibilities of the modern world prove exciting to delve into, but it’s been fascinating developing this campaign and working with Peter Kosminsky to make it as believable – and as unnerving – as possible.”

Zaid Al-Qassab, Chief Marketing Officer, Channel 4, said: “Since Orson Welles first terrified the nation with his War of the Worlds broadcast, the idea of feeling that the nation is at the centre of a drama has thrilled audiences.  Channel 4’s new drama, The Undeclared War, is so relevant to our current global context that we wanted viewers to feel the jeopardy to our very way of life.  We think this campaign really brings the reality of cyber war into people’s homes.”

The Undeclared War is co-produced by Playground, Stonehenge Films and Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group for Channel 4 and Peacock. 

The Undeclared War is coming soon to Channel 4, and is part of the Drama on 4 package sponsored by Arnold Clark.


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