The BBC has handed Circus, the agency launched in January by Paul
Twivy, the task of repositioning the BBC as an organisation in which the
creative product is king.
The appointment, which will involve marketing the corporation more
aggressively - both internally and externally - is a response to the
Orwellian image of the corporation epitomised in Private Eye’s Birtspeak
column, which refers to the managerial stance of the director-general,
The agency’s initial task will be to heal the breach between programme
makers and managers, which has widened during the Birt regime.
As one BBC insider explained: ’There has been a yawning chasm between
programme makers and managers. One of main problems for the BBC is the
perception of ’Birt speak’, and the way internal communications are
handled. The task is to make sure marketing is not seen as a dry,
Circus’s appointment is the result of an eight-month relationship
between the BBC and Twivy, who has been working as its marketing
adviser. Circus will provide strategic advice on the BBC’s marketing and
communications, reporting to Colin Browne, the BBC’s director of
Both Twivy and the BBC insist Circus’s appointment will have no bearing
on the BBC’s various advertising agencies, which include Leagas Delaney,
Ammirati Puris Lintas and St Luke’s.
Jane Frost, the BBC’s head of corporate marketing, said: ’There is
absolutely no question of any changes to our advertising roster because
of this appointment.’
Browne said: ’We are delighted that our relationship with Paul is to be
extended to Circus and look forward to working with them as we enter the
digital era of broadcasting with all its profound challenges.’
Twivy said: ’The BBC is one of the richest, most complex and most highly
regarded brands in the UK.
In the past year, it has developed a more sophisticated understanding of
both itself and its audience than any other commercial client I’ve
The four Circus founders - Twivy, Tim Ashton, Dilys Maltby and Tim
O’Kennedy - will work alongside McKinsey, the management consultancy, on
the marketing project.
The wide-ranging brief was devised by Birt to mould the BBC’s mission
for the future and discuss ways in which it can communicate more
effectively with its audience.