The irony of ITV raiding the ranks of one of its most vociferous
critics - Procter & Gamble - for its new marketing director will not be
lost on anyone who has followed the catalogue of abuse piled on
’Britain’s most popular button’ over the last few years.
For too long ITV put its hands over its ears as some of the nation’s
biggest spending clients rightly complained about tumbling audiences and
And P&G has been right up there leading the charge.
So John Hardie, the managing director of P&G cosmetics and toiletries
brands across Europe, should appreciate the task he’s taking on as ITV’s
new marketing and commercial director. However, Hardie will find that
marketing fmcg brands, such as Max Factor and Oil of Ulay, is not quite
the same thing as marketing the UK’s biggest commercial TV channel.
P&G has spent years understanding its consumers, its competition, the
dynamics of its markets. ITV has not yet begun to tackle these issues
coherently. And while marketing at P&G had an important status in the
company, ITV has no history of taking it seriously.
Hardie will start from scratch, without a ready-made support structure
and with a marketing budget woefully below that of some of its
But the task for Hardie is clear. ITV must find itself an identity that
transcends its individual programme brands. It has to actually stand for
something in the minds of viewers faced with a daunting number of
anonymous TV channels. ITV also needs effective advertising campaigns,
which are what your average P&G marketing man’s CV has in spades.
At a time when the BBC can produce an ad as perfect as ’Perfect Day’,
ITV’s own advertising efforts are disappointing. ITV still has a lot to
be proud of, a brand franchise that deserves the best. Let’s hope Hardie
adapts the P&G approach to advertising creativity and delivers for ITV
the sort of advertising work it can be proud of.