Magazine article Marketing

Star-Studded Ads to Reverse ITV Fortunes

Magazine article Marketing

Star-Studded Ads to Reverse ITV Fortunes

Article excerpt

Coronation Street's Jack and Vera Duckworth arguing over their favourite ITV arts programming; two of the Gladiators doing battle over their favourite ITV drama; and the lads of Soldier, Soldier debating which is their favourite ITV current affairs programme.

These are all television commercials coming soon to a screen near you, as part of ITV's first major branding campaign launched this week through M&C Saatchi. Costing 5m [pounds sterling] in off-air advertising, it carries the strapline `ITV. Britain's Most Popular Button'.

It is the first time the ITV Network has put together a concerted campaign, casting aside the rivalries of stations and sales houses to concentrate on selling the ITV brand to its audience and advertisers. It is also the biggest marketing offensive in its 40-year history.

It follows a tough year for ITV, which has been attacked by advertisers for a 2% fall in its peak-time audience share last year and is facing stiff competition from Channel 4, satellite, and Channel 5 for advertising revenue.

Character building

The new push includes a national poster campaign and trade marketing targeting advertisers. It also features radio and below-the-line activities. But it is only a fraction of the overall investment. ITV is giving over promotional airtime for the branding campaign, which would cost an advertiser around 600,000 [pounds sterling] a week to buy. The campaign will also support the 280m [pounds sterling] ITV spends through on-air promotion of its programmes each year.

The campaign also features a range of ten-second ads which include Trevor McDonald switching on Blind Date and characters from London's Burning and Thief Takers turning on their favourite ITV programmes.

Five more shorter idents are in the pipeline. Advertising and marketing around particular ITV events is also set to launch. The first will be Euro '96, with posters on 48 sheet sites across the country, topically featuring the rival managers of Newcastle and Manchester United, Kevin Keegan and Alex Ferguson, who are both commentators with ITV's Euro '96 team. The strapline of the poster will boast `ITV United for the Cup'. …

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