The BBC’s marketing department has launched a charm offensive to convince incoming director-general Greg Dyke of its essential role at the highest levels of the corporation.
Independent research commissioned by the BBC about the EastEnders promotional campaign, which ran from March to July, suggests it helped to reverse the soap’s ailing fortunes.
The findings will be submitted to BBC Broadcast chief executive Will Wyatt for consideration in deciding next year’s budgets.
Dyke, who takes over from John Birt in April, has yet to reveal his views on marketing. The majority of BBC executives favour the discipline, but some dismiss it as “expensive nonsense”.
According to research by RSGB, viewers said they tuned in to EastEnders more regularly after seeing the trailers featuring ordinary people gossiping about the soap and ending with the show’s actors talking to camera.
BARB figures show average East-Enders’ audiences of between 13.1 million and 15.4 million last month, compared with 12 million to 14.3 million in October 1998.
Peter Salmon, controller of BBC1, praised the campaign which won three Promax awards: “It has been a brilliant marriage of programme content and marketing. I hope it has worn down resistance from some programme-makers to the power of TV marketing.”
BBC controller of TV marketing Maureen Duffy masterminded the campaign. She says: “We had to show a trailer that was strong enough to make people reappraise East-Enders and give it another try.”