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PG Tips reunites Vegas and Monkey for TV comeback

LONDON - PG Tips is to launch a new set of ads that will feature monkeys again, but not as we remember them. This time the faces of ITV Digital's ad campaign, Johnny Vegas and Monkey, will reunite to bring their own touch of monkey magic to the tea brand.

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Created by Mother, the first spot breaks today with a two-minute TV spectacular entitled "the return", directed by Daniel Kleinman from production company Rattling Sticks. The campaign is supported by 48-sheet and print activity, as well as a website featuring a "Monk-e shop", where fans will be able to purchase knitted merchandise, the proceeds of which will go to Comic Relief, which owns the rights to Monkey.

The campaign, created by Mother the agency originally behind the ITV Digital campaign, will air tonight on ITV. The creative works on the premise that Monkey fled after the demise of ITV Digital, or as he says "after all that TV business went belly-up", and after some scarring experiences on the road, comes back to find Al, played by Vegas, to rekindle their friendship.

After putting Monkey on a boil wash and making him his perfect cup of tea with "three stirs clockwise and two stirs back" and adding "one-and-three-quarter spoons of sugar". The pair talk about "getting back into advertising" and Al admits he has had to rent "the big room" out to Carol Decker of T'Pau and the spot ends with the noisy lodger playing 'China in your Hand' as Monkey and Al sit at the kitchen table with a cup of tea.

Mother first paired Monkey with Vegas in 2001, when it won the campaign to rebrand ONDigital as ITV Digital. Following ITV Digital's collapse in 2002, the duo have not been seen together on screens, however the campaign was popular at the time, with Monkey proving to be a big hit with viewers.

The PG Tips campaign, a series of four ads featuring Monkey and Vegas, will replace DDB London's T-Birds work, which has run since 2002. Mother won the £10m PG Tips account in a shoot-out against DDB in May 2006. DDB had held the account in various forms since the brand was formed in 1930.

The PG Tips chimps are in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest running ad campaign. The chimps retired in 2002 and now live in Wycross zoo in Leicestershire.

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