Reasons Why ITV Are Not Only Rubbish, But Also Seem Determined To Wreck The Fragile Self-Esteem Of BrokenTV's Mark X: Part One

  • 2/26/2007 11:12:00 pm
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones

May 1995.


Jacques Chirac is elected president of France. A Paul Rideout goal sees Everton beat hot favourites Manchester United in the FA Cup final. Former Prime Minister Harold Wilson dies. Ajax win the Champions League. The Supreme Court of Canada rules that sexual orientation is a prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the USA, Dr. Samuel Beckett steps into a quantum accelerator and vanishes. Meanwhile, tired of doing a thankless and mind-numbing sixty-hour per week office job with four figure salary for an entire year, BrokenTV's Mark X notices an advert in MediaGuardian recruiting trainees for ITV's advertising sales department. Unperturbed by the fact his meagre CV containing absolutely no relevant qualification or experience will have to be printed out on a rubbishy second-hand dot-matrix printer, he applies for one of the positions. He posts his letter and waits. He is a chump.

February 2007.


A policeman is killed at the Serie A match between Catania and Palermo, leaving Italian football in turmoil. U.S. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois announces a presidential bid in Springfield. North Korea agrees to give up its nuclear program, for oil. Meanwhile, the once proud ITV are reduced to employing all manner of sub-chumps, tiny rodents and coloured pieces of felt to run their airtime sales department. SO IT WOULD SEEM.


Fact One: BARB Terrestrial TV Viewing Figures, Week Ending 4th February 2007

Finally, the majestic Harry Hill's TV Burp is the most popular comedy programme on British television. It's first showing, in an early Saturday evening slot, gathers an impressive 1.25 million more viewers than the next most watched comedy show, the interminably weak BBC sitcom After You've Gone, which airs in a prime 8.30pm Friday night slot. Just in case you misread that, this means that ITV1, yes ITV1, is home to the most popular comedy programme currently airing in the UK, and quite justifiably so. Savour that last sentence, because it's very probable the last time that statement was accurate, Rupert Rigsby ran a dilapidated but fictional town house, and Harold Wilson ran the country. Or, at the very least, Keith Barron was wandering around a mocked-up Spanish holiday resort in a TV studio.

Fact Two: How ITV Works

From Wikipedia:

"Unlike the BBC, ITV funds itself by showing television commercials. Despite the proliferation of channels, ITV is still the UK's biggest commercial broadcaster in the country. Its flagship analogue channel is ITV1."

So. It would stand to reason that, say, the nation's largest commercial broadcaster would happily be able to sell a great deal of advertising airtime for Britain's most popular comedy show, more than twenty years since it was last in a position to do so. Getting advertisers to advertise things in the space devoted to advertisements from such a show would not be the most... demanding of tasks, shall we say?

Yes, we shall.

Fact Three: The Number of Adverts That Were Aired In The Middle Of ITV1's Most-Watched Showing Of Harry Hill's TV Burp, On Saturday 24th February 2007.

One advert. That's just the one advert. One. Advert. And to make matters even stupider, it was this one:

Chewee Gum™. The Orange Drink™ of gums.

Cadbury's most woeful attempt at ramming a massive advertising spend for something nobody really wants down the necks of an apathetic British public since they tried to convince people to buy Fuse bars. Remember Fuse bars? The biggest ever marketing launch for a confectionery snack ever seen in the UK? A snack that subsequently went down the dumper a couple of years later and was promptly canned? And is now so long forgotten that there isn't even a Wikipedia page for it? No? Anyone? We only remember them because we had to sit through a video on the whole Fuse campaign during a marketing lecture a couple of weeks ago. Anyway.

Neatly sidestepping an entire rant* about the adverts for Chewing Product 23, or whatever it's called, how rubbish are ITV's airtime staff for that state of affairs?

The clear answer: very rubbish.

We've used the above data, and combined it with SCIENCE to compile a graph (which we're not going to show you here) that shows a clear trajectory from 1995 to Space Year 2007. If a laughably pathetic curriculum vitae printed on pound shop issue printer paper (and we weren't making that bit up, by the way) wasn't enough to land a 'prime' £14,000 a year job (in London, mind) in 1995, one would now need to send the words "ME WANTS JOB", smeared in blood-encrusted human shit, on the back of a page torn roughly from the back of Barely Legal magazine, without a stamp, to narrowly fail selection as a member of ITV's advertising airtime sales staff. This is fact. We can show our workings and everything. In fact, BrokenTV's Mark X is busy trying to remember which year he scraped a grade 'D' in General Studies and thumbing through the Yellow Pages as we speak.

(Yes, we're arguing in favour of more adverts. We've got Sky+, so we don't actually watch them, so we don't care.)


*Selected highlight of said rant: What the ruddy FUCK are those fictional people DOING? They're not just paying fictional money to see an annoying stand-up comedian do a joke-free set about the insipid flavour of contemporary chewing gum, but they have fictional counterparts happy to QUEUE outside in the RAIN, waiting to SEE an annoying stand-up comedian do a joke-free set about the insipid flavour of contemporary chewing gum. AND the advert uses a slogan that sounds a bit like another word for 'wanking', as a pathetic attempt to generate an ounce of discussion about the horrid overpriced chewy mess. We're clearly going to fail the marketing course we're on (we're not doing it through choice, by the way), because we're not MASSIVE TWAT-FACED SPUNKBUBBLES.

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