Let’s be honest now. In this glamorous, sexy and exciting world of
advertising, media owner advertising generally isn’t. The sort of
creative work your average media owner churns out is about as
excruciating as Phil Babb’s attempted goal-line clearance in the
Liverpool/Chelsea game last Sunday - real cross-your-legs stuff which
relentlessly underlines the lowly role of marketing in many media
So it’s fascinating to see what the TV channels have come up with in
this crucial digital autumn to win the hearts and minds of the nation’s
couch King Edwards.
With more than pounds 100 million being spent by UK broadcasters on
advertising their goodies over the coming months, never before have the
stakes been so high and the results so visible. So you might expect
awesome creativity from old favourites like ITV and the exciting new
prospects, Sky Digital and ONdigital.
Not quite. First up is M&C Saatchi’s work for Sky Digital. Full marks
for spending a packet, but what’s wrong with a bit of consistency when
the digital message itself is so confusing? The pre- and post-launch
advertising could be for two completely different broadcasters.
ONdigital, on the other hand, has plumped for a straightforward factual
message on brightly coloured pages, designed to appeal to the woman in
us all. The BMP DDB pre-launch ads are simple enough, but where’s the
excitement and magic that the chief executive, Stephen Grabiner, is so
keen on? The advertising for both digital platforms has so far failed to
live up to the thrilling proposition which is digital TV. I want to be
turned on. Instead I’ve got a headache.
So perhaps ITV is having more luck promoting tried and tested favourites
with its agency, HHCL & Partners. Although digital TV’s advertising is
hardly dynamic, ITV still managed to look tired - bland advertising, a
dated logo and a ’heart’ theme which has none of the stature and panache
of, say, the BBC’s balloon. Which is a pity, since the good news from
ITV is that programming is looking better and better.
In fact, my vote for the winner of the first round of the advertising
battle goes to little old Channel 5. With a minnow’s budget and not the
best of advertising heritages, Channel 5 and its agency, Walsh Trott
Chick Smith, have come out with some of the cheekiest, punchiest
advertising in recent weeks.
Last week’s audacious attempt to sabotage the BBC’s coverage of
Olympique Lyonnaise’s Uefa Cup defeat of Blackburn Rovers by inviting
BBC viewers to turn over for Channel 5’s Liverpool/FC Kosice match is a
The channel followed up with a great ad for its Newcastle/Partizan
Belgrade game, featuring David Batty in stockings and suspenders.
Finally, Channel 5 has attitude - and ads rivals would do well to
Its marketing director, Jim Hytner, now just needs more programmes worth