Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: Birth of Thinkbox Is Virtually a Good Thing for TV

Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: Birth of Thinkbox Is Virtually a Good Thing for TV

Article excerpt

Every effort must be made to avoid mocking Thinkbox, the commercial television companies' new marketing agency, even though the determination to do so brings the words 'superhuman effort' to mind.

We all know that it would have been much better if commercial television had discovered the power of marketing 15 or even 50 years ago, depending on your historical sense of perspective. But the broadcasters have finally got there, and respect is due for the fact that after all this time they have even made it to the starting line.

Cynics might raise an eyebrow that this co-operative, all-industry effort has come so long after both the radio and national newspaper industries got their act together, but let's not be petty. Until the Granada-Carlton merger, it would have been difficult to get the commercial terrestrial broadcasters to come to an agreement on anything, never mind climbing into bed with Sky and the other multi-channel operators who are nibbling at their ankles. The two big ITV companies were far more interested in squabbling over one juicy bone than trying to find another one.

So lots of congratulations are due to these people, who are more used to fighting like cats in a sack, but are now sitting down together in a common organisation with a single board and the agreed purpose of trumpeting the benefits of television advertising. The achievement should not be underemphasised - even though the very existence of such an organisation will imply to suspicious minds that the scale of the problem the companies faced must be very great indeed for it to have happened at all.

Thinkbox is a cute - if not terribly elegant - name for the new body.

It is definitely more imaginative than the Commercial Television Marketing Bureau; and getting people to 'think inside the box' is what they want advertisers to do. There is, however, an unfortunate emotional disjunction.

Management types have been brainwashed for decades into believing that 'thinking outside the box' is the thing to do, but I'm sure that people will get used to this new internal strategy in the end.

The people behind Thinkbox, a pounds 1.5m initiative, are also up there with the latest thinking about the best way to create the strategies and structures necessary for new organisations. Physical premises obviously belong to the old world, and as for staff - is there anything more old hat these days than actually employing staff? …

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