Magazine article Marketing

The Worst Scenario for Best Intentions

Magazine article Marketing

The Worst Scenario for Best Intentions

Article excerpt

There are some intriguing parallels between Tony Blair and Richard Eyre. Both took over institutions which many thought moribund, both promised sweeping changes to a tight timetable - and both are now discovering that events, and popular opinion, can throw even the clearest thinkers off track.

Tobacco sponsorship has proved the undoing of Tony Blair's whiter-than-white appeal. Now Richard Eyre faces the first test of the new-look ITV and the way it responds to those who pay the bills.

Significantly, the debate over ITV's new sales policy comes at the same time as new figures which show declining audience share for both the BBC and ITV, and that ITV's share of commercial viewing declined from 61.2% last year to 55.6% this year.

Much more of this and ITV will no longer command a majority of commercial TV viewers, and its power to negotiate with - much less dictate to - its advertisers will weaken accordingly.

Eyre, of course, isn't directly responsible for ITV sales, so it would be unfair to lay the latest dispute at his door.

It's a matter of sales practices rather than brand strategy. But there's no getting away from the fact that his efforts to build a strong brand for ITV aren't helped when advertisers are talking seriously, as our front page story reveals they are, of Office of Fair Trading referrals and withdrawal of business. …

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