BACKBITE

I hate to bow to the inevitable, but I’m afraid that this week I’m writing about Channel 5, current favourite with desperate columnists everywhere from the Financial Times to Pig Farm Weekly.

I hate to bow to the inevitable, but I’m afraid that this week I’m

writing about Channel 5, current favourite with desperate columnists

everywhere from the Financial Times to Pig Farm Weekly.



Channel 5 has been doing rather a nice job of telling us Londoners that

it’s on its way. Virtually every Adshel sports the Channel 5 logo.



Ticket sales for Cliff Richard’s Heathcliff extravaganza are going quite

well, I’m told, thanks to a nice ad at Hammersmith Broadway which says

’Cliff, are you retuned?’.



With the first test signals for London last weekend, retuning is coming

to the capital with a vengeance. Unfortunately, the Campaign office is

already buzzing with Channel 5 disaster stories.



One Campaigner arrived home on Friday evening to find both TV and video

disabled, leaving her with no telly for the weekend. Another has spent

two days at home waiting for the Channel 5 man who never arrived. I

myself haven’t had so much as a sniff of a leaflet through my door,

though I’m sure the Channel 5 people will be very keen for some good

copy in Campaign once the channel’s up and running.



Yes, I know it’s easy knocking copy, and there are bound to be hiccups

over such an enormous task, but I can’t help thinking that Channel 5’s

strategy has gone a little awry. How difficult would it be to target the

key advertisers, agency executives, media buyers and commentators in

London to ensure that they get hassle-free retuning and a good vibe

about the channel?



Of course, we’re an insignificant proportion of the Channel 5 audience

and it’s the numbers that will count on day one, but I’m hearing so many

retuning nightmares within the ad industry that it can’t be healthy for

a channel which needs us on its side. If professional enthusiasm is

tempered by personal experience, then Channel 5 could find the

industry’s goodwill evaporating.



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