UTV’s adoption of ITV branding is, of course, temporary. It is a response to the coronavirus crisis and the need to minimise the number of staff on site. But this week has seen an unexpected development: ITV Creates idents featuring the work of children.
The company ran a competition to help provide a useful activity for children stuck at home while schools are shut and the country is in lockdown. Of course, they could hardly tell youngsters from the UTV region they couldn’t enter.
But the number of entries from Northern Ireland to feature is, perhaps, more surprising. Idents have included designs from children in Belfast, County Down and Newtownards. They are scheduled to run until Sunday.
If ITV is indeed some alien brand which isn’t recognised in Northern Ireland, the youngsters seem surprisingly keen to draw the logo.
While there is no suggestion whatsoever of ulterior motives, one doesn’t need to be too cynical to think that a good way to detoxify any resistance to the ITV brand in Northern Ireland would be a positive activity for local children – especially just now. If ITV plc is tracking the performance of its brand just now, it would be fascinating to know the reaction in NI.
Lockdown is set to continue for at least another fortnight. The likelihood is that social distancing measures and advice to minimise the number of people working on site will continue for some time after the lockdown itself eases. Realistically the advice which led to UTV branding being suspended will run for some time.
As long as nobody loses their job or gets treated badly, would there be any backlash if the current arrangements ended up becoming permanent? When normality returns, the most important thing for UTV would be to restore the normal volume of regional output.
Any row if continuity and branding arrangements stay as now would look like a storm in a teacup – especially just now. The UTV brand itself would not be ditched – it would continue in local programmes and perhaps trails for local output.
Anybody other than a pres fan who was that bothered about the DOG or the endboard on a network trail would sound like they were making a mountain out of a molehill. Indeed when normality returns, Julian and Gillian’s voices can return – but will the swimmers, pigeons, joggers and all the usual UTV branding?
With every week that passes, the more some commentators are questioning whether life will simply go back to how things used to be. Perhaps that applies to broadcasting too.
PICTURED: ITV Kids Create ident. COPYRIGHT: ITV plc.