TV Licensing has created a series of ads to illustrate some of the most surreal excuses from fee evaders, including one bizarre claim from a dodger who insisted he had "received a lethal injection".
The ads, created by Red Bee Media and animated by Scottish collective White Robot, premiere today on TV Licensing's new YouTube channel.
Red Bee Media created the campaign to highlight how unfair TV Licence evasion is to the 95 per cent of people who do pay their fee.
Sian Healey, the head of communications and policy for TV Licensing, said: "This is an innovative approach for the TV Licensing brand, but one which we feel works well for YouTube.
"The charming yet cheeky characters really brought to life some of the outlandish excuses we've heard from evaders from all walks of life. We hope the campaign will raise awareness of the need to be licensed and the many ways to spread the cost.
"We want to get the message out to those who don't, that there are ways to spread the payments for a licence, but consequences if you evade."
Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson wrote the ads. Anderson also directed the films and Ainslie Henderson animated them.
Andy Bryant, the director, creative at Red Bee Media, said: "We felt that if we could make people laugh they might just feel a little warmer about TV Licensing. And what better way than to use the brilliant comedy goldmine of excuses they're already sitting on – hilarious, rude, surreal and bizarre.
"Will and Ainslie's characters work perfectly to capture the ability of some people to construct absurd excuses when under pressure. We believe that one of the keys to creating effective content for brands is to allow creators the freedom to do what they do best – entertain."
Some of the top excuses include asking why a TV Licence was needed for a TV that was stolen and someone saying they did not think they needed a licence because their dog was a corgi and supposedly related to the Queen's dog.
Anderson said: "Our style of animation really lends itself to TV Licensing's excuses. The excuses were naturally funny, so it was all about how we could bring them to life. All of our work is particularly conversational, so it's a good match.
To watch a TV in real time, whether streamed or through an aerial or satellite, you must have a TV Licence, which costs £145.50 for a colour TV and £49.00 for a black and white one.
Henderson said: "As soon as we saw the list of excuses people had given TV Licensing, I could see and hear Malkie and the Crows saying them. They were exactly the sort of thing he would say if he was caught without a TV Licence, so for us, it was a great fit."
- "Why would I need a TV Licence for a TV I stole? Nobody knows I’ve got it." Kilmarnock, Scotland
- "I have lost weight recently and had to buy new clothes. That’s why I could not afford to buy a TV Licence." Manchester, North West
- "I had not paid as I received a lethal injection." Location unknown
- "Apparently my dog, which is a corgi, was related to the Queen’s dog so I didn’t think I needed a TV Licence." Belfast, Northern Ireland
- "I don’t want to pay for a licence for a full year. Knowing my luck I’ll be dead in six months and won’t get value for money." Cardiff, Wales
- "I could not pay for my TV Licence because the Olympic torch was coming down my road and I could not get to the shop as the road was too busy." London
- "I only use my TV as a lamp. If you switch it on it gives a good glow which allows me to read my book." Dundee, Scotland
- "The only way I can afford to pay for my TV Licence is if I sell my hamster, is that what you want me to do?" Liverpool, North West
- "Only my three year old son watches the TV. Can you take it out of the family allowance I receive for him? He watches it so he should pay." Manchester, North West
- "[Customer presented half a torn paper licence to a visiting Enquiry Officer] I spend so much time at my neighbour’s house, we thought we would just share a TV Licence. My neighbour has the other half." Glasgow, Scotland
- "I could not pay as I only have two pairs of pants and they were both in the wash." Slough, South East
- "I got caught shoplifting so I’m barred from the shop that takes PayPoint payments." Leeds, North