Magazine article Marketing

ITV Asks Marketers for UK Promise in 2000

Magazine article Marketing

ITV Asks Marketers for UK Promise in 2000

Article excerpt

As the millennium looms, the UK's biggest broadcaster is unveiling a major marketing initiative that asks both the public and marketers to make 2000 a Year of Promise in the UK. Conor Dignam reports on ITV's attempt to leave its mark on the hearts and minds of the nation

Mention ITV's Year of Promise to most people in marketing at the moment and they will probably think you mean the target laid down by chief executive Richard Eyre to hit a 39% share of peak-time viewing in 1999. But the network now has another promise in mind which will link its brand, and it hopes the nation, to a Year of Promise designed to create improvements and deliver benefits across the country.

Imagine, a major airline guarantees that all its aircrafts will be equipped with defibrillators by the year 2001; a paint company donates free paint to a scheme designed to freshen up the front door of every pensioner's home in the country; and on one day a new computer is delivered to every school in the country.

Those are just some of the potential ideas being explored by ITV's Year of Promise team, which is behind the launch of the initiative.

ITV's new heart logo is being used as part of the project to encourage businesses and individuals to "cross their heart" when they make a promise. If it succeeds, the project will be one of the major national initiatives of the coming year. The Year of Promise will begin on ITV on Sunday October 17, when a Carlton-made launch show will present the concept of making and keeping a promise for the new millennium.

The project is being driven by campaign director Susannah Wheeler, who first took the idea to Carlton TV's chief executive, Clive Jones. Wheeler, who has previously organised ITV Telethons and worked for the New Millennium Experience Company, wants a range of promises and initiatives to take place across the country.

"It could range from an individual promising to pop in regularly to make sure an elderly neighbour is well,to a major company launching a project to help a local school or hospital," she says. "What is important is that people make a promise and keep it."

The launch show will feature celebrities, companies and ordinary people making promises. ITV stars will be used to promote the idea and advertisers will be encouraged to take part. The show will tell viewers how to register their promises, which will be stored on a specially created database as a central record of the UK's accumulated promises. The different ITV regions are also looking at potential physical sites where key promises could be engraved.

Once launched, the Year of Promise branding will be supported on air with ITV's heart logo and will be promoted through regular updates of promises through local news shows. The project will climax in a Day of Promise, with 14 hours of programming, scheduled to take place on May 1 2000- a bank holiday- showing the promises which have been made across the country.

Seeking partners

The project will be co-ordinated from London, with teams based in Scotland,Northern Ireland,Wales and the English regions. The ITV Network wants it to be a national event.

Wheeler says of the May 1 programme: "It will have as its cornerstone key promises, which will not only be memorable and excellent entertainment, but will also leave some legacy. …

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