PR agency Access wins the tough task of promoting Freeview

freeview2Just days after getting itself into a PR pickle by crossing its communications wires over a spoof ad, Freeview has appointed an agency for the tough task of promoting the service.  

Access PR said this morning that it had been given the gig, beating Dec Communications and RPM in a three-way pitch. The move follows last week’s announcement that Banjo has won the advertising work.

The role of Freeview is to persuade free-to-air TV viewers to switch from analogue to digital and to buy the necessary TV or set top box to do so.

But the task is an uphill one.

First, the offering for the public is unclear. With weeks to go until the next round of marketing begins, Ten is the only commercial player to show its hand, with a digital sports channel.

Second, the TV networks lack enthusiasm for the project. Mumbrella understands from a source close to one of the agency pitches, that senior staff at Seven and Nine made no effort to hide their dislike for Freeview. They fear that digital channels will raise costs and fragment audiences, but have to be seen to support the move to digital while the government holds the threat of allowing the launch of another network over them.

Third, the Freeview digital campaign will coincide with messages to the public about the similarly struggling digital radio switchover, leading to further potential confusion.

Freeview suffered an embarrassing PR blunder earlier this month when it gave an on-the-record denial to being behind a request for YouTube to take down a spoof of the Freeview ad, only to be contradicted by YouTube’s owner Google hours later. As a result the ad (shown below after since being reposted to YouTube) gained far more attention than if Freeview had done nothing:

Freeview’s marketing manager Liz Howarth said: “Access PR demonstrates a deep understanding of our existing situation, and has provided cut-through solutions which we are confident will help meet campaign objectives during this critical launch period. We are thrilled to now have all our agency partners on board.”

Access’s other media clients include ACP and SBS. The team includes former Network Ten publicist Margaret Fearn.

Meanwhile, Access was quickly thrown into action. Less than three horus after being appointed it issued a statement attacking a story about Freeview in Monday’s Herald Sun. It said that claims that some equipment would be obsolete by May this year were misleading.


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