“Whoopi-ty-aye-oh, Rockin' to and fro,
Back in the saddle again!”
Jean Autry (soundtrack to ‘Sleepless In Seattle’)
We’re back in the saddle after the summer break, and hope that you and your teams are refreshed and ready for action. Our Friday emails also return - now on a fortnightly basis - so that you can get your regular fix of uplifting quotes!
It’s been a busy summer, with over 30 young brands coming to ITV for the first time, benefiting from the current low entry costs to advertising, and also the greater flexibility we’ve been able to offer partners. Across both linear and VOD, we’ve welcomed brands such as Fevertree, social networking app Peanut for new mums and mums-to-be, meal delivery service Parsley Box, and business switching service Bionic. And we were thrilled to see Unilever’s long-standing Life Buoy soap return to our screens after many years, as they boosted British hygiene.
If you can invest… consider a test! We have so many ways to support new brands, and The Guardian recently explored how many marketers have discovered what TV can do for their business…
“When I spotted the email from ITV in my inbox I jumped for joy to be honest. This is what the company needs right now,” said Bethany Heddle, marketing manager for The Great British Porridge Co, which had its first television advert airing during September. “Companies that are seen on TV are viewed by the public in a very different light than those that aren’t. It shows you are taking the next step of growth.”
As business returns, we’re seeing a buoyant market despite wider economic challenges, with many more campaigns than we’d forecasted even a few weeks ago. It’s encouraging to see how brands are investing in longer-term partnerships, and we were particularly thrilled to welcome Sky Mobile as This Morning’s new sponsor over the summer,
Our Autumn schedule is underway, and you may have seen our ‘2020 Rebooted’ on-screen campaign which shines a light on the fresh new entertainment, dramas and sport we’re broadcasting over the coming months. Our Studios business is back in action, and production is running at over 80% capacity. Crucially, both Coronation Street and Emmerdale each return to 6 episodes per week - a massive achievement under current restrictions.
And did you watch ‘Des’ this week? (All 3 episodes available on the ITV Hub!) It features David Tennant’s stunningly chilling portrayal of serial killer Dennis Nilsen, and also stars Daniel Mays and Jason Watkins. It immediately became our biggest drama launch for over 18 months, with 5.9m watching live at its peak on Monday night (consolidated viewing coming soon).
Equally gripping will be ‘Honour’ which airs across the 28th and 29th September, and tells the story of the real-life killing of Banaz Mahmod - highlighting the reality that honour killings are tragically still rife. It’s the passion project of Keeley Hawes, who both produces and stars in the drama, and she’s joined by Carnival Row’s Waj Ali.
October sees us launch Black History Month, with a wide variety of programming which celebrates the contribution of Black people in television, comedy, history and culture. We’ll also be featuring the talents of Black artists as they design our ITV idents across the month. Programming includes:
Alison Hammond goes ‘Back To School’ as she uncovers the Black people who were key to our history, but who’ve been greatly overlooked in the text books.
Jimmy Akingbola hosts ‘Sorry, I Didn’t Know’: a panel show where the hottest comedians from diverse backgrounds embrace the lack of knowledge we all have when it comes to Black history.
- ‘Charlene and Friends’ sees ITV News’ Charlene White share films, animation and music from the best young talent, as she engages younger viewers in a vibrant exploration of racism. It broadcasts simultaneously on ITV and CITV.
- We’re repeating and updating programmes such as the David Harewood-presented film ‘In the Shadow of Mary Seacole’, ‘Martin Luther King’ with Trevor McDonald, and acclaimed documentary ‘First Among Equals: The Laurie Cunningham Story’.
You may have seen Ashley Banjo’s Diversity in the first episode of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’s return, with a dance inspired by the global uprising against racism and the tragic death of George Floyd. Incredibly, Ofcom received an unprecedented 24,000 complaints about the performance. We welcome Ofcom's decision yesterday to reject them all. In response, we’re running a full page ad in tomorrow’s national press - created by Uncommon - which declares our solidarity with our Ashley and his team. The ad features an image of Ashley with the words “We are changed by what we see. Just as we are changed when we are seen. ITV stand with Diversity”
More positively, the summer saw us deliver on our promise of appointing a new Group Director of Diversity and Inclusion to ITV’s Board, reporting directly to Carolyn. We’re thrilled to announce Ade Rawcliffe’s appointment, as she ensures diversity - in all its forms - is developed both in front of and behind the camera.
Our newly launched commercial initiative Backing Business is taking root, and moving into its next phase, as we add more supportive content to its online home at itvmedia.co.uk/itv-backing-business Our ambition is to support the recovery of British business with a growing suite of content, resources, research, insight and special offers over the coming months. We focus on marketing best practice, conversation and learnings from business leaders, and consumer and cultural insight.
We’re currently exploring a 3-week theme which takes learnings from the 2008 recession and applies them to current times. October will see a 6-week series focused on effectiveness, timed to coincide with the IPA’s Effectiveness Week. We’d love you to experience our webinars (with most now filmed in a studio, rather than someone’s kitchen!)
11am, Thursday 24th September
2020’s Christmas will be like no other. But, what can smart brands do to turn our daily challenges into longer lasting competitive advantages? ITV’s Client Strategy and Planning Controllers William Tapp and Gemma Isherwood explore 5 provocative themes.
GfK’s Head of Key Accounts, Megan Moore, joined ITV Commercial’s Head of Audiences Glenn Gowan to explore the lockdown’s impact on consumer confidence. Thankfully, there are signals that some normality is returning! Discover what brands can do to help consumers see that the glass is half full - not half empty.
And finally… we’re thrilled that ITV has been shortlisted for 26 Media Week Awards over the summer. 18 nominations included us as a commercial team, with MGOMD securing a further 3 in the agency categories, and Goodstuff and Uncommon getting 5 for their ITV projects. We’re looking forward to sharing our story with the judges next week in our presentation for Sales Team of the Year!
We begin a phased return to the office over the coming weeks, with some teams meeting for a day or two a week, and we can’t wait to see you in person as soon as it’s safe to do so. Let us know if we can support you in any way, and we’ll share another update in a fortnight.
MD, Commercial, ITV
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