BSkyB is to unveil a new brand identity in September, to coincide with an autumn advertising blitz for Sky+, Sky Sports and the launch of Sky Freesat (Sky’s Freeview rival). Sky marketing Director Charles Ponsonby said the rebranding would refresh the thought to have briefed creative agency HHCL/Red Cell about creating ad campaigns around the brand identity. The initiative coincides with a separate move to create a brand identity, including a possible name change, for Sky One. The broadcaster is keen to create a new image for the channel and reposition it as a mainstream entertainment station rivaling ITV1 and Five.
BSkyB has entered exclusive negotiations with agency MediaCom for its ?43m media buying contract, as the pay-TV broadcaster gears up for a new marketing drive to broaden its customer base.
MediaCom is understood to have beaten off competition from McCann-Erickson, which used to hold the BSkyB account, and Mindshare, to secure the Sky account.
The advertising buying agency will have an important role to play in Sky’s new marketing strategy, unveiled by the chief executive, James Murdoch, at the company’s annual results presentation on Wednesday.
Mr Murdoch said he wanted to “re-introduce the Sky brand”, moving the firm away from its current image as a technology specialist and satellite provider and repositioning it as a 21st century entertainment company.
He added that BSkyB would abandon its price-led mass-market campaigns in favour of targeting specific segments of the population – particularly those who had not been seduced by the lure of the broadcaster’s sport and movie channels.
“It’s less about being a utility and more about talking about the brand – saying it’s good, it’s fun, it’s an entertainment business,” Mr Murdoch said.
“You had a proposition and a message and there was a certain amount of latent demand. What you have to do then is think about new pockets of demand. It may mean new products and it may mean new ways to present what you have,” he added.
Sky has been working with branding specialist Venture 3 to develop its new brand identity and the company has also hired dunnhumby, the customer management firm behind the design and launch of the Tesco Clubcard in 1995, to develop a database of non-subscriber households in the UK.
The new Sky brand identity will be rolled out over the next few months, across TV advertising campaigns, direct mail, retail marketing, the firm’s customer magazine and website.
In all, Sky currently spends a colossal ?396m a year on marketing compared to less than ?10m a year spent by ITV.