In this essay, I aim to create a branding campaign based on the mission statement of the BBC and pitch a brand new ident for the BBC One channel, focusing particularly on broadcasting throughout November and December. I will then justify my choices made throughout my creation, with close reference to past idents and branding campaigns. I also aim to explore why the BBC should focus upon the creation of idents more than ever, in an era dominated by online streaming services such as Netflix and catch-up services such as BBC IPlayer, the branding identity of a channel must stand out in a highly competitive media landscape.
Main Body – Context and Oneness campaign
In Christmas of 2017, BBC One created its first-ever festive ident of its Oneness campaign – featuring a brightly lit Christmas tree in a busy town, surrounded by jolly bystanders happily recording the festivities and the BBC believed it fit with their branding campaign perfectly, but with recent rising controversy, it seems they were mistaken. The aim of the Oneness campaign was to create idents that represent the rich diversity of communities living in the UK today (Harrison, 2018) and this was portrayed by the range of idents that featured many members of the public, including sausage dog walkers and bird watchers. Despite this seemingly matching up with with the aim of campaign perfectly, avid BBC One watchers and journalists stepped forward to drag it through the mud, claiming its all made up to make us feel fluffy, that we are a country of wet wimps and that BBC One is trying to make it seem as if we are being told how lovely and matey we all are. (Graham, 2017).
Despite the controversy surrounding the Oneness campaign, the message that BBC One is trying to convey is strong and connects back with the original mission statement set by Director-General Lord Reith, who claims the BBC has the commitment to inform, educate and entertain the masses (Freedman, 2018, pp. 123). Arguments have been made that BBC One should not have completely left behind their decade long circles campaign, which was simplistic, but displayed the message of unity and coming together.
So, why is it that idents play an important part in television, and in particular, Christmas Day television? As audiences become strewn and fragmented, we must hold on to the ever-present tradition of seeing Christmas Day television as an event with family and friends. According to ******* I firmly believe idents play a massive part in roping in this audience, as not only does it set the atmosphere of a festive spirit, but also reminds us that BBC One shares a large part of British tradition in bringing people together.
Upon opening the ident, we start with an establishing shot of a dinner table, laden with what was Christmas foods including roasted turkey, sprouts, roasted potatoes etc, now left with half-empty bowls and plates. As the camera pans away from the table, it lifts up to reveal comedian Michael MacIntyre stood at the kitchen counter, dressed in a red Christmas jumper, making himself a cup of hot chocolate. He is the first celebrity we see, and this is important, as I will talk about later on in this essay. The camera then pans backwards, and we see a band of carolers stood behind McIntyre, who are stood in silence for the first few seconds before they begin to sing 12 Days of Christmas. McIntyre is startled, and he looks to them before shooshing them. He begins to then wander through the kitchen and in the background, we see other Christmas decorations such as tinsel and an inflatable snowman. The camera pans to his feet, where is wearing festive slippers which have bells on them, the only noise we hear. McIntyre then walks through a doorframe and as he walks through it, we cut into an animated style ident. Were in a living room covered in Christmas decorations, including a large Christmas tree in the corner. There is a red sofa in the centre of the room, sat upon it is animated versions of Mrs Browns Boys characters, including Brendan OCarroll (Mrs Brown), Jennifer Gibney (Cathy Brown), Paddy Houlihan (Dermot Brown) and Denny OCarroll (Buster Brady). The animated McIntyre sits between them, and we see Dennys character is sat on an electronic tablet, to which McIntyre nudges him and he places it down, focusing on the TV. We hear the song 12 Days of Christmas again sung by the carolers, and there is a voiceover of Now on BBC One.. followed by a description of the show on next. McIntyre sits down his mug on the coffee table in front of him, and we cut to the animated cup of hot chocolate, the logo emerging from the circular shape.
The main purpose of my branding campaign is to merge the older BBC One idents with a new campaign that includes small hints towards the changing media landscape. The expanding seasonal audience of families, including adults and children, has to lead me to the consideration of combining both ideas of a realistic and animated ident, to create something that is understood by both young and old audiences. This ident will focus upon recent campaigns and also introduce a new branding campaign that not only promotes diversity like the Oneness campaign but also brings back the largely popular decade long circles campaign which helped promote the message of unity within the UK, instead of making it highly obvious of the diversity we already know exists within Britain today. The Oneness campaign lacks in traditional concepts that people identify the channel with. For example, the colour red, and the shape of circles. I want BBC Ones branding identity to appear as bright, creative and festive, but also be identifiable as it has always been.
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For years, the BBC has been the forefront of British PSBs, and arguably, the biggest in the world. There are many arguments that surround what it means to be a PSB in todays media climate, and these arguments are extremely important when it comes to the creation of a channels brand identity, and the way it is shown through the creation of idents. Described by Branston and Stafford, a PSB is a service provided with a prime aim of meeting perceived social needs, rather than private profit. In broadcasting can be requirements of a license granted to private sector companies. (Branston and Stafford, 2010, pp. 440). To a member of the public who has never questioned the role of BBC One in society, this may come across as a bland explanation for something that is supposed to provide them entertainment. With this quote in mind, I had to consider how I could take the role of BBC One and their branding identity, and turn it into something relatable to anyone watching the channel. The research I conduct helped me work out what I had to include in my ident that would appeal to a wide audience, and not just a specific target audience, as the BBC is supposed to be seen as accessible and diverse.
Choosing Michael McIntryre to be at the forefront of the ident, was a decision I made when researching BBC statistic data. I wanted a familiar face of the channel that a fraction of the audience would be able to identify with. Also, according to data taken from the channel itself, Michael McIntyres Big Show was the second most-watched Christmas day program in 2018, behind Call The Midwife. (Lizzo, 2019). This show is more aimed at families and is smartly scheduled 7:10 pm after the traditional Christmas dinner has ended, and is a well-known face of British Television.