The History Channel is starting an advertising counterblast against
Henry Ford’s famous dictum that ’history is bunk’ with a new campaign
that aims to prove its offering is not dull and boring.
It is putting between pounds 1 million and pounds 2 million behind a TV
and national poster drive featuring some of the 20th century’s most
memorable events, and challenges Ford’s observation with the line, ’So
history’s bunk, is it?’
The advertising is in line with the channel’s strategy of not promoting
specific programmes. It aims to demonstrate history’s relevance to
modern life and to persuade would-be viewers to take the channel as part
of their Sky TV package.
The ads are the work of Barry Smith, the former Publicis creative chief
turned freelance who is working as the channel’s creative director on a
three-month contract, and Gary Denholm, the former BDDP and KHBB art
director. Media is through Universal McCann.
’Our strategy is to make history sexy and to show people that they can
learn from it,’ Smith said.
’The advertising is about increasing the channel’s share of voice within
Four 30-second ads break across the Sky network this Friday. In one the
dignity of Churchill’s funeral is juxtaposed with Hitler’s ranting. In
another, footage of John Kennedy’s assasination runs to the soundtrack
of Marilyn Monroe’s rendition of Happy Birthday Mr President.
The 48- and 96-sheet posters feature a 180-degree shot of Hiroshima
after the atomic bomb had dropped - the first time the city’s Peace
Museum has allowed such images to be used for advertising - and the
ovens of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
’This advertising is right up there with Benetton without being
gratuitous,’ Smith added.