In marking the occasion, ITV has been keen to avoid too much nostalgia. Technological change is bringing significant opportunities that must be exploited if television is to retain its position as the most powerful communication channel. The challenge of creating audio-visual content that binds consumers to brands is perhaps more complex than ever.
But it would be difficult to celebrate this anniversary without some kind of retrospective. After all, it's been said that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
We wanted to focus our anniversary celebrations on the success of our customers, and the 50 Years of Fame theme chose itself for a couple of reasons. On the one hand, there has been no other medium that can compete with television's track record of making something or someone famous.
On the other, marketers crave famous brands, because of the customer loyalty and business success that they bring.
Television advertising isn't the sole ingredient in making brands famous, but consumers see it as the most important, and this sentiment has helped us to claim a prominent place at the table.
The television ads reviewed in this supplement are testimony to this.
Reading the Private Views that have been contributed by some great names in the business - not to mention a celeb or two - I was struck by a number of references to branded content, a phrase that is now in vogue. This concept has been around for many years, if you accept the reviews of Levi's and Pepsi ads. I believe the engaging and entertaining advertising of many of the other brands whose fame we celebrate in the following pages could also come under the banner of branded content.
Inevitably, choosing the 50 most famous brands of the past half-century has been tricky. We don't claim to be definitive with our choice because, naturally, we have focused on the brands of our customers.
To increase objectivity in making the choice, we turned first to the ITV Fame Ratings. Among other things, this consumer research project delivers an objective measurement of the 50 most famous brands in people's minds.
In addition, there were a few brands whose claim to fame was sufficient for us to subjectively include them, such as Renault and Walkers.
There are some major supporters of television advertising that aren't represented in this choice of 50 famous brands. COI Communications, for instance, is a highly effective user of the medium. Yet its success has been far more about creating famous campaigns as opposed to famous brands.
Equally, you won't find holding companies that are famous within the advertising industry, such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever or Disney.
Consumers love famous brands and the commercial benefits of building brands with enduring fame will not change as a result of new technologies; if anything it will become even more important. We look forward to working with you in finding new and engaging ways of building and maintaining fame.