March 1997: In the run-up to the launch of Channel 5 (as it then was), brand strategy was mapped out by its marketing director, David Brook, along with Mother, with help from Michaelides & Bednash (strategic planning) and PHD (media) to position the channel as an exciting and stylish "youthful mass market channel". All the groundwork is undone, however, when the Spice Girls are hired to headline the on-screen launch extravaganza.
August 1998: Brook had moved on just months after the launch, to be succeeded by Jim Hytner, who appoints Walsh Trott Chick Smith to freshen up the channel's image. The on-screen look, and "candy-stripe" logo, stays put. But in 1999, marketing moves away from short-term work to highlighting the channel's best programming.
September 2000: Hytner now attempts to reflect Channel 5's status as an established mainstream channel by commissioning 42 new on-screen idents featuring well-known (ish) personalities that included Boy George, Keith Chegwin, Linford Christie and Leslie Grantham, poking gentle fun. "We think the idents should not just brand the station, but express the personality of the channel and entertain at the same time," Hytner explains.
September 2002: Hytner had moved on in July 2001. He was replaced by David Pullan, the former MTV marketing chief. Seeking to distance the channel from the trashy "films, football and fucking" brand values of its early days, he now oversees the most fundamental brand overhaul since launch. The candy stripe is ditched, as is the logo of a circled number 5. The word "channel" is also banished, leaving the brand to make its way in the world solely as a four-letter word.
September 2008: When Pullan moved on in 2004, he was replaced briefly by Jane Scott and then succeeded by Carl Ratcliff, who's charged with revamping the station's on-screen image before the arrival of Dawn Airey as the chief executive in October 2008. The lower-case five now becomes FIVE and comes in a range of colours.
Fast forward ...
September 2009: But, shockingly, less than a year into the job, Airey departs to take up the reins at UKTV Living. She is succeeded by Sky's commercial supremo and five's former sales director Nick Milligan. He plans a return to the channel's 90s programming philosophies and orders a rebrand that will reflect this. The solution is to call it, purely and simply, F. Onscreen, the letter is to be rendered in a variety of colours and typefaces.