ITV readies major rebrand

ITV is overhauling all its channel brands to feature new logos and idents as it looks to better communicate the differences between them and emphasise that all its programming is created or commissioned by the parent company.

ITV’s new logo and how it might appear in on-air programme marketing.

The move marks ITV’s first major rebrand since 2006 and will see the broadcaster drop the numerical “1” from its flagship channel – reverting back to its original name pre-2001. It will be renamed in January, when the entire network rebrand goes live, all featuring a new curvy ITV logo.

Rufus Radcliffe, ITV’s group director of marketing and research, says: “[The rename] was a viewer driven decision – the majority of our viewers refer to ITV1 as ‘ITV’ so we were swimming against the tide…we wanted to elevate the role of the ITV master brand, where everything we do leads to this thing called ITV – we don’t ever call it or ITV1 Player.”

The main ITV logo, which will feature on channel 3 in the EPG and its corporate communications, will change colour to reflect the mood and tone of the programme it is promoting. The ITV logo will also appear more prominently in its programme marketing campaigns, in an attempt to represent a closer relationship between the master brand and its output.

Radcliffe says: “The rebrand is about cementing a relationship in viewers’ minds with the shows they love and the ITV brand. The current brand does not work hard enough to link ITV with the brands they love. ‘At the heart of popular culture’ is the purpose behind the ITV brand; the BBC is to inform, educate and entertain, Channel 4 is a mission with mischief but we think there is a place right bang in the middle of the mainstream.”

ITV is also taking a “completely new approach” to idents on channels ITV through to ITV4, in an bid to better represent what the brands stand for and to keep viewers watching its channels across the ad breaks.

Each of the refreshed channel brands will feature about 10 idents each season to reflect the mood of the programme, time of day, season of the year or events.

The ITV main channel idents will feature a mixture of films of “everyday life” using real people.

ITV2, which it describes as the “home of infectious entertainment”, will feature a new red logo and “mischievous and irreverent” idents.

ITV3, “the keeper of crafted drama collections from ITV”, has changed to a blue logo and will feature idents using a paper cut-style animated creative.

ITV4 aims to be the “fan club for all things men” and will feature a grey logo. For the idents, ITV has crowdsourced 38 “bone fide” ITV4 super fans and asked them what their dream would be – such as driving a super car into a swimming pool – which its production team have replicated.

Sub brands including CITV, ITV News, ITV Sport and ITV Player will also be given fresh identities when the rebrand rolls out in January.

The new identities and idents were created by ITV’s internal creative team, which Radcliffe says was a “philosophical” rather than a “financial” decision. ITV will not support the January “switch on” with any marketing activity beyond its own estate.

ITV’s ad revenue dropped 6 per cent year on year in its third quarter but a strong performance from its ITV Studios business helped boost total revenues up 4 per cent in the first nine months of the year to £1.6bn. The broadcaster is also set to make £30m in cost savings for the full year, which could explain its choice not to invest in above the line marketing to inform viewers of the rationale behind the rebrand.

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