We are big fans of Lord Bragg and his amazing coiffure so were pleased to see that The South Bank Show will ride again as an awards show on Sky Arts. The channel has showed some quality stuff of late and its plans to relaunch Bragg and The South Bank Show have won it some deserved recognition. It will be interesting to see if other broadcasters increase their commitment to arts coverage in response.
The PPA's reawakening
In recent years, we'd pretty much forgotten the Periodical Publishers' Association existed, so it's encouraging to see that its recently appointed chief executive, Barry McIlheney, is injecting some life into its somnambulant existence. At an event last week, attended by senior publishers and agency figures, experienced magazine names such as Time Out's editor, Mark Frith, and the BBC's Matt Teeman gave lively presentations and provided the market with some sense of things to come and the PPA's plans for the next year.
The launch of Mongoose Beer, a rival to Cobra, has made us smile. Created by Wells & Young's, which previously brewed Cobra before its sale to a large multinational, the beer is marketed with a label featuring a mongoose with a cobra in its mouth and as a drink for "those in the know". Early tastings of Mongoose (it's now available in many curry houses across London and the South-East) confirm that this is a beer that could emerge as a serious and authentic rival to Cobra.
Don't Stop Believing
The first episode of the Emma Bunton-fronted talent show pulled in a respectable 1.5 million viewers on Five. More interestingly, its format looks set to be a global success after being sold in markets including Australia, demonstrating the potential for ad-funded programming and for agency networks to get in on the production process as Don't Stop Believing is part-financed by Group M Entertainment. Group M has worked to bring in the UK series sponsor Argos and has developed a link with MySpace, in return for which it has commercial control of the format.
AND ONE THING WE DON'T ...
Blake Chandlee's departure
We've enjoyed dealing with Facebook's Blake Chandlee over the years so it's sad that he's relocating back to the US (see Diary on p31 for a report on his lively leaving party). Facebook is undoubtedly a success in most markets but Chandlee's approach really helped advertisers engage with its services in the UK and across Europe. In a leaving note thanking his friends and contacts, Chandlee also paid tribute to "Solus, 30 Club, Nabs, Ivy, Roka, Hakkasan, Soho House, Hospital, Charlotte Street, Covent Garden Hotel and many many more". It's fair to say Chandlee embraced London's media life fully and will be missed.