Category Archives: Coventry Conversations

Dave Pegg from Cadbury’s 18/03/2010

Thursday 18th March 2010, Dave Pegg Artwork team manager for Cadbury’s in-house design studio, came in to speak about Design, Marketing and Advertising. He spoke about how he had, since leaving sixth form and university, gone on to do a variety of jobs within his discipline which culminated 12 years ago in securing a job at Cadbury’s. I agree that his varied jobs before are all brought together in his job now: illustrator, printer, designer and sculptor all built up to being an artwork manager. They all assist in being able to design and oversee campaigns and launches, some of which have seen staggering success rates.

It was interesting to learn that Cadbury’s design studio was in-house, but it makes sense when you learn that they produce 4,500 design pieces a year worth £9 million; more than all the advertising agencies in the UK put together; which would be impossible to contract out. So quite rightly it is dealt with in-house, enabling them to keep up with the market and also to keep the hefty budgets down in cost as much as possible. Also, as they work in an advance of between 1&½ to 2 years through strategic planning, which would be impossible to control and keep up with if they were dealing with an agency.

Dave Pegg also described and showed some of the adverts for Cadbury’s over the years and how they have changed and progressed. John Cadbury created the first advertisement in 1824, this would most definitely have been something nobody had seen before. Adverts for products did not really exist before then, so would have been something that caught the consumer’s attention and combined with his attractive shop windows would be something the consumer would remember. In 1866, the strength of the product, how Cadbury’s is a premium brand was first introduced. This was the birth of the brand identity. Back then it was backed-up by medical testimonies, which now cannot be used, but instead the idea of the product being ‘Fairtrade’ is highly pushed. There are themes that run throughout Cadbury’s advertising over the years, reinforcing brand identity with the consumer; reminding them that Cadbury’s is the oldest and best. In 1928, Dairy Milk became the largest selling chocolate product which showed John Cadbury’s work had paid off. This resulted in an investment into the advertising, something which is extremely evident now. Cadbury’s have ensured 500,000 saw the cinema units and their special shows in the 1930’s, that the Fruit and Nut adverts increased sales by 73%, and that celebrity endorsements helped launch Wispa. Also that Cadbury World became the second most visited attraction in the UK (second only to Alton Towers), that 18million viewers of Coronation Street saw their campaigns and that £16 million was spent on the gorilla advert in 2009. When looking at the old adverts, it is surprising how things have changed, yet still seem to have stayed the same. The messages of the adverts have been re-used; in the beginning the taste and company itself were focused on, then highlight was on the taste especially when launching a new chocolate. Then there were celebrity endorsements, but now the adverts have become focused on the company and its image once again. This successfully enables Cadbury’s to promote all their products; which are so many more than you might think; all at the same time. By promoting the brand’s image, they encourage brand loyalty and remind customers why they love Cadbury’s. This is a much more effective advertising method, as they do not have to advertise all their products individually, leaving more budget for new product launches. It also helps that these adverts promoting brand image also become viral sensations. For example, the gorilla advert had ½ a million hits on YouTube in the first week. The best part being, it is free advertising.

It was a very interesting talk from Dave Pegg, it gave a real insight into the advertising at such a major company. And with such high investments in their products and advertising their products, it is no surprise that the purple on their packaging is trademarked, after all everyone associates chocolate with that classic purple.

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Peter Sissons 11/2/2010

Synopsis

Peter Sissons came in to talk about his time as newsreader, of which I found really interesting. He talked about how newsreading is more than just sitting at a desk.  Peter said how a good reporter goes out and finds out about the story themselves; they don’t just expect to be given it. Peter also discussed how ITV (ITN at the time) when he began was a small company; something I could never have imagined now; and the BBC before he left was such a large organisation that he never even saw the head of news. Peter also discussed how when he worked at BBC News 24, it meant he was stuck in the studio.

Peter described how he was very lucky in his career, in that the strikes of the 1970’s made his career, as it generated a lot of news stories, so gave him a lot to report on. Also, he was the newsreader for the Channel 4 News launch in 1982- this could’ve gone either way; a great success or a great fail. But Peter said that it was in fact a great success, so much so that other shows attempted to copy the format. Peter admired the format of C4 News greatly; the “rubbish set” with no desks, balancing paper on their laps. But Peter said this was a great success and programmes such as ‘Newsnight’ on the BBC attempted to copy the no desk format. Peter also said that his 7 years at C4 are the years he is most proud of and also BAFTA nominated.

Peter described how he was tempted away from ITN by BBC with a 3 year deal of £500,000! He said that it was a “great privilege to be handed the microphone of a major broadcasting channel”. He described how he has strict rules in his mind on how the news should be delivered to the public: – continuity of presenters, so the public know who will be presenting (which he got at BBC) – piece to camera explains why the reporter is there, not the reporter constantly in front of the camera – reporter should stand still –  and should let the images do the talking. Peter said how he felt that the current news programmes now market the news, rather than delivering it. The programmes use fancy graphics and short sound bites to keep the audience’s attentions.

Critical Reflection

News reading is more than just sitting at a desk; which in all honesty, I didn’t know, I thought that the newsreaders you see on the television just read the news. However, I suppose this is often the case and if it is not it is most certainly the impression they give.  Peter discussed how ITV (ITN at the time) when he began was a small company; something I could never have imagined now;  and the BBC before he left was such a large organisation that he never even saw the head of news. This is understandable, considering how large an organisation the BBC is, despite Peter suggesting in his tone that this was a bad thing. I am not suggesting it is a good thing that at all, just that although quite shocking, it is understandable due to the size of the BBC. As for Peter saying that working at BBC News 24 he was stuck in the studio; I imagine for a newsreader who likes to get out and find out about the stories himself must have been frustrating (which actually was the impression I got). However, I imagine now if all the news-readers were out of the studio chasing stories, it would cause a lot of issues, first and foremost there wouldn’t always be a presenter on hand for breaking  news bulletins and probably because there are people who are paid to research the stories. It would be like buying a hair dryer but never using it.

Peter’s luck with the strikes in the 1970’s generating a lot of news reports, were in essence just that- luck. Although it could be argued that those stories would not have been given to him if they did not think he was deserving of a successful career- because surely they would have known that the reporter covering these stories would get high-exposure. Peter again benefited from luck when the launch show of Channel 4’s new news programme was successful. But then again, this could also be due his technique as a presenter, not just pure luck, especially as in 1982 there would have been a greater audience and interest in the news, so a bad presenter would more than likely have caused an audience to switch off from the programme. As for Peter’s praise of the new design of set, I find odd, as news without a desk seems like a DVD without the player. But Peter said that other programmes copied the format, so clearly it must have been a success. And Peter even went on to say that his time on C4 news are the 7 years he is most proud of and especially as it was multiple-BAFTA nominated; which I did not know about at all and quite surprised about as I did not think that honestly C4 News was really taken seriously- probably due to BBC and ITV’s dominance.

I found the £500,000 Peter was offered to transfer stations, was an astonishing amount for 1989, even if it was over 3 years, I still found it a staggering amount for 20 years ago- now incidentally it is nothing compared to wages of celebrities and footballers.  I was surprised how passionately he felt towards the job he once did, in regards to his opinions on the rules that should be observed when reporting/presenting the news, which I do agree with. I also agree with Peter that the news is now marketed; the extensive use of graphics I agree are irritating, although possibly they are needed to keep a younger audience interested as the news as a programme can be quite dull sometimes. Though, that could just be the fact they channels make it a programme that has to be a certain length, therefore including unnecessary stories just to extend it to the full time slot; so possibly it should just be about delivering the news the way Peter suggests for as long as it takes to get the important stories across rather than making it a programme set to a time slot?

All in all, I found it very interesting to listen to Peter Sissons’s conversation. I did not think that someone could be as passionate as he is about newsreading. I think Peter is definitely right that the news is marketed, there are even advertisements for the news now.  I also think that he is right about how the news should be delivered (and he was right to wear the maroon tie, he did as he was told and it was just bad luck that the navy one on ITV looked darker than it was and that his looked lighter than it was on camera!)

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The Future of Multimedia Journalism at the BBC – Pete Clifton 5/2/2010

Synopsis

Pete Clifton works for the BBC in Journalism and Multimedia. He spoke about the BBC’s website (www.bbc.co.uk) and how it has changed over the past years and how they are planning to develop it and improve it further. The website was originally a peripheral part of the BBC, but now it is a central element to the BBC.  He spoke of how the BBC has been accused of being too big and trying to do too many things for a free service.

Pete Clifton spoke about what the BBC plans to do to update their website. How they feel that there should be a look at what happens online, that the website should focus on fewer things in the upcoming year and that it should focus on its duties as a public service broadcaster (PSB). He explained how in the last 10 years, the website had moved on from the small and bad quality videos on the site in 1997/1998 and thanks to broadband video quality online has been transformed. He discussed how he feels technology interrupts viewing structures, now that things such as iPlayer are available on games consoles. Pete then said that due to this it creates challenges for the BBC, as they have to keep thinking of new services and it challenges the BBC’s dominance in a decade of mobile computing.

He then went on to say that they have already begun to update their services with ‘Democracy Live’. This provides live coverage of political venues such as the house of commons. This kind of technology is a first and was originally used for sport coverage. This technology really is advance; there is voice detection and recognition that records the coverage and allows users to search for sepcific words and then watch the videos containing the search terms and view the videos from the point the search terms were spoken. Pete also said that this will develop over the world cup and winter olympics.

Pete also talked about how the BBC plans to develop the picture galleries as they are popular and tell a different kind of story. He also talked about the search engine optimisation – this is to be done by longer headlines and had actually been improved in the last 2 years already.

There are a great deal of users of the website already, which have grown gradually to 10 million unique users in the UK. 25% of these (which I thought would be a lower figure) are directed from search engines (mainly google). The BBC plan to re-launch the website after re-building content production system, updating and refreshing and making the site more flexible. On average, users view 4 stories per visit. Pete also spoke about project CANVAS.

Critical Reflection

I was surprised to learn that the website had been going for 12 years. I think Pete quite rightly he puts critics right who say the BBC’s website does too many things for a free site,  by saying the BBC’s website is funded by the licence fee so it can afford to do all those things. Even though the licence fee does not stretch as far as it used to and other channels are beginning to want a slice of it, as they feel it is unfair BBC receives all the revenue, it still is the BBC’s so they can really do what they feel is right with the money.

Some say the BBC should focus on its duties as a public service broadcaster (PSB) which I agree with, they shouldn’t forget their roots- what they were established on. Luckily for journalism, news and sport, they adhere to the BBC’s PSB responsibilities. In regards to the quality of videos online improving in the last 10 years, this is evident when you view the BBC website, as there are now a great deal of videos online, whereas just a few short years ago the videos would be relatively unwatchable due to slow connections. It is quite amazing how far online video streaming has come in just 10 years, although in technology I suppose 10 years is a long time, especially when you look at television, games consoles and mobile phones. Pete spoke of how now things such as iPlayer are available on games consoles, I feel this is a good thing though as it allows flexibility with viewing, which in today’s society with busy lifestyles people need else they cannot possibly keep up their viewing schedules. In reference to the BBC facing new challenges with new technology developing, this I think means new technology is a positive thing as it makes the BBC find new ways to communicate, thus keeping its services new and fresh and contemporary. Also ensuring to keep the younger audience, which is important as younger generations are the future and if they lose interest because the BBC fails to evolve, then the BBC will not have an audience in future years.

Pete’s description of the updates to their services with ‘Democracy Live’, I found interesting and surprising how advance this really is; the voice detection and recognition is pretty amazing!  This I feel is just the beginning of many things to come- where it will develop to I do not know- but at the beginning of a new year and a new decade, I think it is a very exciting start.

Pete talked about the updates to the picture galleries online which is a good idea as it attracts a different audience- those who want a quick update on news stories. And also again attracts the younger audience, as now younger people cannot be bothered to read a large amount of text, they prefer to look at images that tell the story in the same, but easier way. Which is a negative thing really, it still happens so the BBC is wise to adhere to this.

The search engine is due to be updated, which is a good idea, as that is something I have noticed, the search engine doesn’t produce the results you want. It often produces results that are nothing to do with what you searched, which does not make you want to use the search engine to find news articles on the BBC’s website. Which again, is a concern in regards to the younger audiences, who do not want to spend a long time searching through endless and useless search results.

It surprised me when he said that it takes 20 seconds from newsroom to website for the stories. Also that there are 1 million users accessing video and audio. Despite this, the BBC still want to improve their promotion of video, original journalism, new articles and local content and continue inproving distinct content of the site. On average, users view 4 stories per visit, which from my point of view is more than I thought, as I don’t find the website particularly helpful- possibly due to the search engine- but on the other hand, for regular users who like to search for and read news stories this figure was lower than I expected. Project CANVAS that he spoke of was also interesting; as I think it fits in well with the BBC iPlayer on games consoles, in the fact that it’s updating technology and in-keeping with contemporary technology.

In conclusion, I found this talk really interesting. I found it good to learn about the BBC; something I have studied briefly in the past for my course; from someone who works there and to find out about how the BBC is constantly updating and facing new challenges and rising to those challenges.

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