Circus to take on BBC image brief

The BBC has handed Circus, the agency launched in January by Paul Twivy, the task of repositioning the BBC as an organisation in which the creative product is king.

The BBC has handed Circus, the agency launched in January by Paul

Twivy, the task of repositioning the BBC as an organisation in which the

creative product is king.

The appointment, which will involve marketing the corporation more

aggressively - both internally and externally - is a response to the

Orwellian image of the corporation epitomised in Private Eye’s Birtspeak

column, which refers to the managerial stance of the director-general,

John Birt.

The agency’s initial task will be to heal the breach between programme

makers and managers, which has widened during the Birt regime.

As one BBC insider explained: ’There has been a yawning chasm between

programme makers and managers. One of main problems for the BBC is the

perception of ’Birt speak’, and the way internal communications are

handled. The task is to make sure marketing is not seen as a dry,

theoretical discipline.’

Circus’s appointment is the result of an eight-month relationship

between the BBC and Twivy, who has been working as its marketing

adviser. Circus will provide strategic advice on the BBC’s marketing and

communications, reporting to Colin Browne, the BBC’s director of

corporate affairs.

Both Twivy and the BBC insist Circus’s appointment will have no bearing

on the BBC’s various advertising agencies, which include Leagas Delaney,

Ammirati Puris Lintas and St Luke’s.

Jane Frost, the BBC’s head of corporate marketing, said: ’There is

absolutely no question of any changes to our advertising roster because

of this appointment.’

Browne said: ’We are delighted that our relationship with Paul is to be

extended to Circus and look forward to working with them as we enter the

digital era of broadcasting with all its profound challenges.’

Twivy said: ’The BBC is one of the richest, most complex and most highly

regarded brands in the UK.

In the past year, it has developed a more sophisticated understanding of

both itself and its audience than any other commercial client I’ve

worked for.’

The four Circus founders - Twivy, Tim Ashton, Dilys Maltby and Tim

O’Kennedy - will work alongside McKinsey, the management consultancy, on

the marketing project.

The wide-ranging brief was devised by Birt to mould the BBC’s mission

for the future and discuss ways in which it can communicate more

effectively with its audience.

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