Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Changing Identity - David Pemsel Marketing Director, ITV

Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Changing Identity - David Pemsel Marketing Director, ITV

Article excerpt

Given the proclivity of media company staff for coming up with nicknames for their colleagues, it is rather predictable that David Pemsel has already become known as 'Pemselcase' during his six months at ITV as director of marketing.

Ironically, ITV has, over a slightly longer period, acquired a similar-sounding moniker - 'basket case'. The job Pemsel has taken on, of trying to rid ITV of a negative image brought on by ITV Digital's collapse in 2001, is one few would relish.

The fruit of his labours hit the screens this week, supported by a pounds 7m ad campaign. Each channel in the ITV portfolio now has its own distinct identity and positioning, designed to appeal to different core segments of the TV audience.

It would seem a sensible strategy, as ITV's digital channels appear to have developed organically, but it will be some time before the TV ratings reveal the extent of its success in stemming an outward flow of viewers.

As well as marking the biggest change in ITV's on-air look for three years, Pemsel insists that the activity, which uses key programmes such as Wild at Heart on ITV1 and Supernatural on ITV3 in its advertising messages, is also indicative of closer links between the scheduling and marketing departments. 'We are working far more closely with the other parts of the channel,' he says.

The 37-year-old joined ITV halfway through the consultation process that led to the rebranding. He became a permanent member of staff in October last year, after the implementation of the infamous Fast Forward initiative which sparked dramatic changes at the organisation, including the removal of then-ITV Broadcasting chief executive Mick Desmond.

Raised in Notting Hill, Pemsel has a suitably artistic family background: his mother was a photographer and member of the Royal College of Art, while his father, a head of design at the BBC, won a Bafta for his work on The Barchester Chronicles. Quite what Pemsel senior makes of his son's role at a broadcaster where lofty peak-time programming ideas have long-since been abandoned in favour of reality TV fodder can only be imagined.

Despite being part of the new management team, Pemsel still bears the telltale signs of his former career as a slick ad agency account man; when asked what his favourite TV programme is, for example, his quick, but not entirely convincing, response is The X Factor. …

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