SPOTLIGHT ON: IDENTS: ITV attempts to express best intention through new idents - But surely there is only so much a logo can convey? Alasdair Reid investigates

Design consultants have become a stock-in-trade target for a whole generation of diary columnists and satirical journalists. You know - the sorts of designers who charge seven-figure sums for making the waves in the ICI logo less wavy or replacing italics with roman type in the BBC corporate mark.

Design consultants have become a stock-in-trade target for a whole

generation of diary columnists and satirical journalists. You know - the

sorts of designers who charge seven-figure sums for making the waves in

the ICI logo less wavy or replacing italics with roman type in the BBC

corporate mark.



This sort of thing is held up as the ultimate example of ’spot the

difference’ pretentious corporate twaddle - at best, supreme folly; at

worst, tax-dodge jobs for the boys with coloured pencils.



And the superstitious cult of the station ident is surely in just about

the same league. Blame Channel 4. Until the station’s exploding and

readily reassembled multi-coloured numeral arrived, idents were a rather

dull necessity, merely a reminder that you were on the right channel for

the programme you wanted to watch.



There was the tatty BBC1 globe and the two-striped two of BBC2. Best of

the ITV efforts was the LWT logo that seemed to be squeezed out of a

Signal toothpaste tube. The worst had to be Anglia’s rotating statuette

of a mounted knight in shining armour.



With the advent of Channel 5, the ident was promoted to the front line

of the marketing effort. We were talking integration here - the station

ident idea formed the graphic foundation of advertising and promotional

executions.



Since then, the BBC’s globe has been filled with hot air to become a

balloon. And we’ve had a plague of animated BBC2 twos, from the cute to

the clever via the cryptic. It was only a matter of time before ITV

decided to get with it.



The results were unveiled last week by ITV’s marketing director, John

Hardie. Out goes the old logo (’too corporate’) to be replaced by a new

approach majoring on a heart graphic that will position ITV as

’television from the heart’. This, network bosses say, will make ITV

more consumer-friendly. Are they kidding? Are idents really that

important? And can they contribute to sophisticated marketing

strategies? Can they carry emotional values?



Yes, of course, insists Doug Hamilton, the creative director of Wolff

Olins, the outfit responsible for Channel 5’s colour bar ident. He

states: ’It’s a shorthand way of understanding what a channel is all

about. It’s got to have emotional value or it’s a waste of money.’



Sarah Davies, the commercial director of Lambie-Nairn (responsible for

BBC2’s twos) agrees, but she insists it’s not the whole story. ’ITV uses

two-and-half hours of its airtime promoting itself each week. Not even

Procter & Gamble could afford that. So it’s a big exercise and there has

to be a strategy to use it properly. It must also dovetail with how the

channel is exposed across all media. But an ident can make a huge

difference to the way a channel is perceived. And that can make people

more willing to trial it.’



Davies claims that the current series of BBC2 idents, which were

introduced in 1991, are a prime example. Within six months of their

introduction, the perceptions of BBC2 had changed from ’middle class,

snobbish and high brow’ to ’sophisticated, witty and stylish’ - and that

was largely down to the idents because there was no major scheduling

changes in that period.



So it can be important. But what about the ITV heart? And the blue and

yellow typography? Does it cut the mustard? Davies says it’s too early

to tell - let’s wait and see how it fits within the whole marketing

strategy.



Hamilton, however, has no such qualms: ’I can’t believe this. ITV has

such a fabulous history and culture to draw on. This is so

contrived.



It’s vacuous, dreadful, simply rubbish. It’s old fashioned. What on

earth are they doing? Some of the stuff out there is excellent. When you

see the Fox ident or VH1’s you know exactly what you’re going to get.

This is a very competitive world and if ITV sticks with this it will get

punished.’



Topics

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Stop and stare at what these nine brands did for the eclipse

You don't have to shield your eyes from social media during an eclipse - brands from DoubleTree by Hilton to Pizza Hut have found creative ways to capitalise on the total solar eclipse.

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).