How humour and mainstream appeal helped ITV become marketing team of the year

With a focus on reflecting and shaping UK culture in everything it does, ITV has addressed questions about its content and achieved its aim of being about ‘More than TV’.

In 2019, Netflix spent more than $15bn on content – more than ITV’s entire market capitalisation. With the TV viewing landscape still shifting rapidly after a decade of massive change, ITV needed to adapt its outlook to remain relevant to viewers.

Under ITV’s new CEO, Dame Carolyn McCall, the network’s marketing team partnered with Uncommon Creative Studio in a far-reaching project to redefine ITV’s brand purpose.

ITV’s marketing team – CMO Rufus Radcliffe, director of viewer marketing Paul Ridsdale, marketing portfolio lead Brendan Dinen, and portfolio marketing executive Harriet Lowe – pursued a strategy to make ITV a brand that offered ‘More than TV’.

The team needed to reflect significant changes to ITV’s product offer as it launched subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services, events, competitions and merchandise.

They were also seeking to position ITV as a creative force that does more than simply entertain, by reflecting and shaping UK culture in a way global competitors could not.

Running its first branding campaign in years, ITV highlighted a strong health message around mental health, and underlined the importance of the channel’s role in British culture by encouraging people to look out for their friends and relatives as the country entered the Covid-19 lockdown.

As well as driving messages about social purpose, ITV addressed perceptions about its content. Ads using characters from popular shows delivered messages to remind viewers that ITV was the home of high quality drama as well as popular entertainment shows.

This joined up approach and collaborative effort sees ITV take home the 2020 Marketing Week Masters award for marketing team if the year.

The judging panel felt the team had re-energised the ITV brand. “A consistently high level of delivery from this team has put ITV even more at the centre of British society,” the judges said. “They have shown a brilliant balance of not taking themselves too seriously, using humour and mainstream appeal, which made some significant moves in purpose-led communication in an accessible way.”



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