September is the 'branded season' on BBC.
All this month the news and current affairs channel plans to focus on advertising, and all that comes under that ambit of advertising. To this end the channel has lined up four programmes for its viewers - Logo, The Ad Factor, The Comeback Cars, and What Kids Want… And How They Get It.
Talking about why advertising is under the spotlight on BBC this month, Jonathan Howlett, director, airtime sales, BBC World, says, "Advertising is known to be a barometer for the economy. There has been a great deal of comment on the fall in advertising spends over the recent quarters and therefore a programme which highlights the continuing efficiency of advertising in building brands and businesses is clearly a pertinent vein of programme at this point in time."
Logo, a six-part magazine style programme, explores the influence brands have on a culture and society. It delves into things like how branded shopping bags - dealing with a range of things like social issues to music and clothing - can affect the lives of people. This programme, which went on air on September 7, will be aired on Saturdays at 1.00 am.
While Logo examines the relationship of people and brands, The Ad Factor looks at the process behind the making of advertising messages. The three-part series traces the planning and design stages of an advertising process to the rollout and consumption of the final product. Beginning September 14, The Ad Factor will be telecast on Saturdays at 7:40 pm.
The Comeback Cars is a three-part programme on resurgent brand names in the car industry. From Jaguar to BMW and Rolls Royce, the series follows the relaunches and the marketing tactics of the main players in the automobile industry. The first episode goes on air on September 19, at 1.00 am.
A one-off programme at the end of September - What Kids Want... And How They Get It - would conclude the season with an entertaining look at how children succeed in convincing adults they need something. In fact, the programme has some advice for parents from behavioural psychologists on how to combat, as the channel calls it, the 'gimme gimme' generation. This could be seen on September 28 at 1:40 pm.
While the programming line-up looks exhaustive, it raises one key question. Given BBC's association with serious news and current affairs, the idea of showcasing advertising appears out of place. Howlett disagrees completely. "We focus on areas which we know will generate interest among audiences. We have already run dedicated seasons in the past on various themes including travel and adventure (the 'Voyager' season), women in business ('Women at the Top'), aviation ('Frontiers In Flight') and on literary greats ('Great Writers'). Advertising is relevant to anyone who consumes brands or who is affected by a downturn in the economy. Which in effect is everyone."
While it may be relevant to everyone, what could stand in the way of viewer interest is the fact that all the programmes are part of BBC's global feed and are not focussed on any specific market. Howlett offers his explanation. "Brands are as important in India as they are anywhere else in the world. International brands are now freely available in India reflecting India's greater connectivity with world markets. Cultural values within India have areas of uniqueness and also great areas of commonality. It is interesting to note that there is probably more in common between a businessman/woman working for an international firm in one country and another, than many of the other people who live in the same city." Â© 2002 agencyfaqs!