We enjoyed being able to watch England's 5-1 triumph against Kazakhstan without having to resort to hefty pay-TV subscriptions and ITV's coverage was solid and professional. While its choice of pundits is a real half-time turn-off, the show has a proper sponsor in Sony (inherited from ITV's Formula One programming) and a really strong on-air look designed by the specialist TV branding company Liquid TV. It's just a shame England's play wasn't as smooth and engrossing as the new titles sequence.
Starbucks and Guardian deal
We've been enjoying the recent Starbucks free special offers in The Guardian, so this week's tie-up, which will see copies of The Guardian and The Observer sold exclusively in Starbucks coffee houses, makes sense. Replacing Starbucks' previous deal with The Times, this will give The Guardian exposure to the two million people who use the chain each day, many of whom will be a new audience. Starbucks' attempts to big up its ethical credentials also make for a nice fit with the Guardian News & Media titles.
Ford's Bond activity in Glamour
Ford is really pushing its involvement in the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, and the latest activity, planned and bought by Mindshare, features bespoke advertorial pages in Glamour across six European markets, including the UK. It's interesting that Ford is targeting a female audience by linking the launch of the new Ford Ka model to the film. The advertorial pages feature the actress Olga Kurylenko, who plays the Bond girl in the film, on a fashion shoot involving the new Ka.
The Krypton Factor's return
While the action on Bullseye might have been more on our level, we used to love The Krypton Factor. It always seemed a step above the other challenges on TV and we especially enjoyed watching contestants bungle the assault course. We applaud ITV's decision to bring back the show next year and the imaginative approach adopted by the IT company Sage (and its agency Drum PHD), which is putting a significant amount of its marketing budget into funding the programme. ITV's largest ad-funded project to date could be something special if it's updated with care.
AND ONE THING WE DON'T ...
The Sun's blatant Sky+ puff
While The Sun has done some great things lately, its continued insistence on promoting all things from its sister company Sky is starting to grate. Monday's leader column took this further with a totally over-the-top mention for Sky+. Commenting on Ashley and Cheryl Cole's contrasting fortunes on ITV last Saturday night, The Sun's finest minds concluded: "No guessing which show they watched on their Sky+." We're all for a bit of cross-promotion but this went too far.