Buyers battle to reschedule ad slots after Diana tragedy
By CLAIRE BEALE, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 05 September 1997 12:00AM
The tragic news of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, led to the wholesale disruption of millions of pounds worth of advertising schedules this week.
The tragic news of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, led to
the wholesale disruption of millions of pounds worth of advertising
schedules this week.
Advertising minutage lost to make way for coverage of the event will
have to be accommodated by extending ad breaks on commercial television
in the coming weeks.
Most commercial channels pulled advertising airtime on Sunday when the
news of the Princess’s death was announced, and ad spots were withdrawn
from subsequent news bulletins and tribute programmes.
There were no ad breaks on ITV until 7.30pm on Sunday and no ads ran
during the later ITN tribute. News at Ten has been running without a
centre ad break this week.
A number of programmes have been withdrawn. A planned screening of
Police Academy 6, on Monday, for example, was replaced with Inspector
Ads in a number of product categories were ruled out by ITV, including
cars, insurance, healthcare, photography, newspapers and alcohol.
Ads such as the Nissan Almera (which features a car chase) and Green
Flag (which includes an accident scene) were among those considered
Advertisers in less contentious sectors, such as fmcg, were encouraged
to upweight their ITV campaigns and were offered the sort of prime
peaktime spots usually reserved for blue-chip clients.
Jerry Hill, the chief executive of the ITV sales house, TSMS, said: ’All
commercial breaks have been pre-vetted given the situation.’
Sales houses are now working out how best to reclaim lost advertising
minutage and ITV is likely to change the network break patterns to
However, there will probably be problems with conflicting ads.
Currently, only one car ad per break is permitted, but it will be hard
to maintain this policy given the number of car ads pulled this
Channel 4 also followed a policy of pulling ads during coverage of the
Andy Barnes, the director of sales and marketing at Channel 4, said ads
will not run during Saturday daytime when the Princess’s funeral takes
Barnes added: ’We didn’t want to alienate anyone. If in doubt, we’ve
pulled it, and advertisers have backed us.’
On Channel 5, ads for alcohol, cars and insurance were pulled and the
channel also changed its plans to screen the Big Chill on Thursday.
Sky withdrew all commercial airtime and programme promotions last Sunday
and will run no ads on any channel during Saturday daytime.
However, Sky has come under fire from one agency for being
The satellite broadcaster ordered the withdrawal of Leagas Shafron
Davis’s work for Sanyo Digi-Cam cameras until after the funeral. The ads
feature elderly couples demonstrating the ease of use of the
Mike Davis, the managing director of the agency, said: ’I’m not
complaining about having a media schedule messed up. But, given that Sky
is continuing to show entertainment, pulling advertising which has
warmth and humour just because it’s for a camera is to make too tenuous
Radio stations have followed similar strategies to TV channels this
week, pulling ads and promotions.
Newspaper sales shot up as news of the tragedy continued to break,
although publishers were cautious about disclosing sales figures. The
Sun is understood to have sold more than one million extra copies on
Monday and the Sun, the Times and the Guardian are each thought to have
increased their print run by around 50 per cent.
John Teal, the head of agency and client sales at the Daily Mail, said:
’We are trying to be sympathetic, but are keen to keep in as much
revenue as possible. Some advertisers are trying to pull out of Thursday
and Friday editions on the premise that people won’t be going shopping
on Saturday, so why advertise?’
The weekly celebrity magazine, Hello!, was forced to pulp its issue
planned for this week, but has increased its print run to 1.05 million
for a special tribute issue.
OK! magazine has scrapped the planned launch of an ad campaign, but it
is honouring deals with media owners and is running ads for a special
tribute edition to be published in tandem with the regular edition.
Northern & Shell, the publisher of OK!, is to donate all profits from
the special issue to Diana’s six favourite charities.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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