Unilever chief to lead ISBA fight for more ad minutage

Advertisers have a new advocate on media inflation and minutage with the appointment of Unilever’s media manager Edwin Sharpe as head of the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers’ broadcast action committee.

John Blakemore, UK advertising director for SmithKline Beecham, has been replaced by Sharpe after serving a year as chairman. He says he will remain active in the group.

Blakemore was voted in as chairman in July last year when advertisers started voicing concern over the first serious TV airtime price rise for five years.

He has been instrumental in ISBA’s attempts to change the Independent Television Commission rules to allow more advertising minutage, which is currently limited to an average of 7.5 minutes per hour of peak broadcasting.

Blakemore, a former Ogilvy & Mather TV buying director, and the action group have been lobbying to have the minutage altered to match European Union guidelines, which allow nine minutes an hour. Cable and satellite channels currently follow the EU guidelines.

Sharp has been involved in the action group and took over the broadcast role last month. He is joined by Patrick Burton, group media manager of Allied Domecq, who takes up the role of deputy chairman.

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