Sometimes if you cannot come up with a good idea of your own in marketing what you can do is steal a really good one and make it different enough so people think its your own. Unfortunately for Virgin TV Media it looks like they have tried this with something a little bit too iconic.
The two characters i most identify with on television at the moment are Stewie from Family Guy and the monkey from the PG Tips ads. Monkey is now in its second incarnation having been created to promote the now defunct ITV digital. At the time it was the best thing about the failed digital offering as anyone who purchased the service got a free monkey. When they went bust there was a brisk market for Monkey's on ebay. In 2007 Monkey was re-born, along with Johnny Vegas, after PG Tips paid the agency Mother who created the character for the rights to use him. Once again Monkey has become famous and i even have one hanging from my fridge.
Virgin Television is just about to go through a marketing re-vamp including a new logo and as part of this they have got the creator of Monkey to create a new character called Red. The new character is red, funnily enough, and imp like and surprise surprise made of the same knitted material as Monkey. Virgin will be using red in a range of idents and adverts to promote this re-launch and they have already announced it will be on Facebook, Twitter and have its own podcasts. So tick for covering all the expected social media marketing boxes but not for originality.
I may be hopelessly wrong on this but i was always taught that there is nothing wrong with stealing great ideas, just be careful about which one you copy.