PERSPECTIVE: New TV dawn cries out for media and creative teamwork

As delegates nurse their first hangovers of this week’s TV conference in Barcelona, those who have made it into the lecture theatre will face a familiar range of topics from the platform; digital TV, interactivity, the internet and fragmentation. We’ve been talking about the future for years but now it’s here (sort of), the debate hasn’t really moved on.

As delegates nurse their first hangovers of this week’s TV

conference in Barcelona, those who have made it into the lecture theatre

will face a familiar range of topics from the platform; digital TV,

interactivity, the internet and fragmentation. We’ve been talking about

the future for years but now it’s here (sort of), the debate hasn’t

really moved on.



And the creative issues facing advertisers in this new TV environment

will hardly get an airing. Take last week’s headlines created by that

loveable rogue Tony Scouller, the marketing director of UDV, with the

help of that other loveable rogue, John Billett, the chairman of Billett

Consultancy.



Scouller was presenting the Billett Paper (which, in the spirit of

Billett himself, managed to sound like a political manifesto of global

significance) on three years of spirits ads on TV. His verdict was that

the drinks industry has been badly served by ITV. Phew. Well done ITV -

if everything had been rosy, an opportunity for a healthy dose of PR

would have been missed.



Scouller’s point was that ITV’s contribution to the arrival of spirits

advertising was to reduce young people’s viewing of ITV and push the

cost of TV advertising up by 24 per cent. Thrilled by the prospect of

getting themselves on TV, the spirits advertisers clamoured for airtime

and the price went up. Call me naive, but was there any hope that the

ITV sales houses would be so happy to have spirits advertisers on board

that they’d give them a sweet deal?



Is ITV the obvious port of call for advertisers chasing young

people?



I suspect a core problem with taking spirits advertising on to TV was

not the cost or the audience (there’s more to TV advertising than ITV)

but the quality of many of the advertising campaigns produced.



Far too many spirits advertisers simply took cinema strategies - or even

print strategies - on to TV and expected them to work. A great deal more

thought will be required as TV itself changes. As we sit around in

Barcelona, I wonder how many will care to debate the nature of creating

TV ads in the new TV world.



The creative implications of the emerging TV advertising opportunities

are enormous. Digital television, interactive advertising and the

increasing proliferation of niche channels represent new creative

opportunities and challenges, yet few creative agencies are really up to

speed with the rapid changes in the TV market.



Now, more than ever, there’s a real need for creative and media agencies

to work in tandem to make the most of the possibilities of the new TV

era. Yet the two sides of the advertising equation are further apart

than ever and that represents a real problem for creative agencies still

obsessed with mass-market 30-second TV campaigns. Will many of those

creative agencies which cheerfully waved goodbye to their media

departments in the early 90s bother to send delegates along to

Barcelona? I suspect not.



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