ITV is launching a new offensive to increase its revenue from
direct response advertisers by creating a new call-handling system
designed to encourage more people to respond to telephone numbers on
Call ITV, a joint venture with the cable giant, Cable & Wireless
Communications, will use a single generic telephone number for all
direct response ads, making it simpler for viewers to request further
information, broch-ures and samples.
The number, 0870-3333 333, is designed to be memorable and portable -
advertisers can use the number and Call ITV logo on their packaging and
on non-competing media.
The initiative is being unveiled by ITV’s new marketing director, John
Hardie, and ITV claims that by associating their brands more closely
with ITV through use of the Call ITV logo and number, advertisers can
tap into the credibility and stature of the ITV brand.
According to Caroline Hunt, the head of client services at Carlton UK
Sales and a driving force behind the Call ITV initiative, direct
response commercials account for around 25 per cent of all ITV’s ads.
’There’s real potential for this to grow; there’s just this perception
that ITV couldn’t handle all the calls because of its size.’
Call ITV will be backed by what is claimed to be the UK’s biggest
call-handling system using CWC’s unique voice-print technology.
The voice-print system can be programmed to recognise key words and
phrases describing the ad, so if viewers don’t remember the brand name,
they can still access information. The technology is undergoing tests
and will be rolled out nationally through the course of 1998.
The technology will also be able to provide spot-by-spot breakdowns of
responses so advertisers can analyse which ads have performed most
Eventually the system will provide information on which postcode area
respondents are calling from.