PERSPECTIVE: C5 is the only star among lacklustre broadcasting ads

Let’s be honest now. In this glamorous, sexy and exciting world of advertising, media owner advertising generally isn’t. The sort of creative work your average media owner churns out is about as excruciating as Phil Babb’s attempted goal-line clearance in the Liverpool/Chelsea game last Sunday - real cross-your-legs stuff which relentlessly underlines the lowly role of marketing in many media companies.

Let’s be honest now. In this glamorous, sexy and exciting world of

advertising, media owner advertising generally isn’t. The sort of

creative work your average media owner churns out is about as

excruciating as Phil Babb’s attempted goal-line clearance in the

Liverpool/Chelsea game last Sunday - real cross-your-legs stuff which

relentlessly underlines the lowly role of marketing in many media

companies.



So it’s fascinating to see what the TV channels have come up with in

this crucial digital autumn to win the hearts and minds of the nation’s

couch King Edwards.



With more than pounds 100 million being spent by UK broadcasters on

advertising their goodies over the coming months, never before have the

stakes been so high and the results so visible. So you might expect

awesome creativity from old favourites like ITV and the exciting new

prospects, Sky Digital and ONdigital.



Not quite. First up is M&C Saatchi’s work for Sky Digital. Full marks

for spending a packet, but what’s wrong with a bit of consistency when

the digital message itself is so confusing? The pre- and post-launch

advertising could be for two completely different broadcasters.



ONdigital, on the other hand, has plumped for a straightforward factual

message on brightly coloured pages, designed to appeal to the woman in

us all. The BMP DDB pre-launch ads are simple enough, but where’s the

excitement and magic that the chief executive, Stephen Grabiner, is so

keen on? The advertising for both digital platforms has so far failed to

live up to the thrilling proposition which is digital TV. I want to be

turned on. Instead I’ve got a headache.



So perhaps ITV is having more luck promoting tried and tested favourites

with its agency, HHCL & Partners. Although digital TV’s advertising is

hardly dynamic, ITV still managed to look tired - bland advertising, a

dated logo and a ’heart’ theme which has none of the stature and panache

of, say, the BBC’s balloon. Which is a pity, since the good news from

ITV is that programming is looking better and better.



In fact, my vote for the winner of the first round of the advertising

battle goes to little old Channel 5. With a minnow’s budget and not the

best of advertising heritages, Channel 5 and its agency, Walsh Trott

Chick Smith, have come out with some of the cheekiest, punchiest

advertising in recent weeks.



Last week’s audacious attempt to sabotage the BBC’s coverage of

Olympique Lyonnaise’s Uefa Cup defeat of Blackburn Rovers by inviting

BBC viewers to turn over for Channel 5’s Liverpool/FC Kosice match is a

fine example.



The channel followed up with a great ad for its Newcastle/Partizan

Belgrade game, featuring David Batty in stockings and suspenders.



Finally, Channel 5 has attitude - and ads rivals would do well to

watch.



Its marketing director, Jim Hytner, now just needs more programmes worth

promoting.



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