ITV: Becoming more than TV

With campaigns such as Britain Get Talking and More Than TV, ITV has redefined its purpose in an ultra-competitive market. We talk to chief marketing officer Rufus Radcliffe about what we need from our public service broadcasters in the modern world

Standing as proof that old dogs can – and should – learn new tricks, in recent years ITV has been redefining itself in a way that might be surprising to those who associate it mainly with the likes of Coronation Street or Loose Women. In addition, the 65-year-old channel has also been signalling what we should expect our public service broadcasters to offer us, at a time when they are arguably most under threat.

The evolution of the ITV brand began in 2018, when Carolyn McCall joined the organisation as chief executive and prompted a re-examination of its purpose. “It felt like obviously we were going to go through a review of our strategy, but within that we wanted to go through a review of our brand strategy and our positioning and what ITV stood for,” explains Rufus Radcliffe, chief marketing officer and director of direct to consumer.

To help do this, Radcliffe and his team approached Uncommon Creative Agency, which had launched just six months earlier following the departure of founders Nils Leonard, Natalie Graeme and Lucy Jameson from Grey London the year before. ITV went on to become one of the agency’s founding clients. “We had informal conversations back then, and originally it was a brand strategy piece of work but in a good way there’s been mission creep,” says Radcliffe, “and we’re doing a lot more stuff. Not only from a brand strategy point of view but from a creative point of view as well.”

Top: Still from a More Than TV ad starring legendary broadcaster Trevor McDonald; Above: The Britain Get Talking campaign in 2019 interrupted the final of hit TV show Britain’s Got Talent to ask people to think about mental health