Five minutes with Gary Bean and the golden age of technology is
laid out before you. A glorious world where apple-cheeked tech-heads
eagerly cluster around the family TV set. Mum books the holidays, Sally
scours the football scores and Dad checks the weather reports to see
whether he should mow the lawn.
In this world, the possibilities of television-based data services such
as Bean’s Teletext take a quantum leap. High-quality pictures come into
play for the first time, for example, and the system is quick,
interactive and user friendly.
So Bean, the marketing head of Teletext, is anxious to stake his claim
in the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s consumers, which is why he and his
agency, St Luke’s, unveiled a change in direction for their advertising
last week (Campaign, 9 January).
Ditching the old, memorable, text-only ads was not easy, but it had to
be done, according to Bean. Although successful in raising the numbers
of people using Teletext (to 19.4 million people weekly), the time had
come to give the service more personality. Give it more of a face, so
that when the new digital age opens doors for Ceefax - Teletext’s BBC
rival - and a host of other online services, Teletext will already have
a set of values all its own.
Despite being charged with marketing a technical revolution, Bean
insists he’s not an anorak. He has, however, a distinct history in the
rather tricky area of marketing highly technical products to the man in
This began with the launch of super-premium unleaded petrol for BP,
which Bean joined in 1987, and continued with a stint for Projectlink, a
marketing consultancy which counted Shell and Barclays bank among its
Teletext, which runs in conjunction with Channel 4 and ITV, was a tiny
blip on the national consciousness when Bean first joined the company as
a marketing manager in 1992, with a marketing budget of pounds 1
Six years later he has three marketing managers and controls a spend
five times as large.