ITV CEO on TV advertising: CMOs need ammunition to change the conversation

The prevailing conversation all too often focuses on the ‘death’ of TV and Carolyn McCall admits ITV must do “much more” to show marketers why they should spend their budget on TV.

ITV’s chief executive Carolyn McCall wants to give chief marketing officers the “ammunition and confidence” to speak up about what they think is right for their budgets and push back on quarterly financial pressures from those at the top.

Speaking to Marketing Week at the Festival of Marketing, McCall said CMOs have a “significant” role to play in changing the conversation around effectiveness and that ITV will be much more “front foot” going forward to prove to advertisers that TV is far from dead.

“At the end of the day it is about effectiveness; if you stop being effective and pull back your marketing budget, you’re not communicating with your consumers and you go off the radar,” McCall said.

“Just doing it for the quarter, you run out of steam. But we all know while marketing will go through difficult times, it absolutely wins in the end. That’s been proven.”

McCall, who was the boss of easyJet for seven years before joining ITV, is currently trying to prove to advertisers there is much more it can do beyond the traditional TV spot and sponsoring idents.

“It’s about really getting under the skin of programmes,” she says, citing recent partnerships with Missguided, Rimmel, Superdrug and Ministry of Sound during the latest series of Love Island.

READ MORE: ITV puts focus on brand and data as it looks to be ‘more than TV’

“There’s a lot more we can do with that and we have upped the resources on that. But there’s also a lot more we can do with targeted advertising. We are at the beginning of that but we will accelerate that quite dramatically.”

Another area of focus for ITV is increasing the number of monthly active users on its on-demand Hub to a “critical mass”, which McCall says will really allow the broadcaster to do targeted advertising at scale.

“Don’t ever underestimate the importance of mass simultaneous reach,” she said. “That is quality reach, highly accurate, very transparent, verifiable. None of the problems that Facebook and Google have.”

McCall, who was a planner at The Guardian in the early days of her career, lamented the declining influence of planners in the advertising process. She believes recruiting better quality planners will play an important role in halting the trend for clients to take aspects of media buying in-house.

“The planning process in media companies is not as strong as it used to be,” she says. “That’s where many clients are beginning to think, ‘maybe we can do more planning, we have a lot of our own first-party data.

“Actually what you want is better quality planners right across the board. Planning is a really important skill because that’s where the understanding of the consumer and matching that with what you’re doing from a communications perspective really starts taking form with the client.

“I remember a lot of planners in the past, they were much more vocal and seemed much more impactful in the advertising process.”



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