Advertisers Angered by ITV Mediator Selection Process

17 November 2003

The choice of media planning/buying veteran John Billett to serve on the selection committee for the key ad sales adjudicator's role at the merged ITV has set the cat among the pigeons.

Billett, chairman of a management consultancy specialising in enhancing marketing communications effectiveness, is a member of the panel overseeing the key appointment of a mediator between the merged ITV's sales organization and any advertisers or agencies with whom it is in dispute.

The latter are incensed at Billett's involvement on two counts: (1) Their views on possible candidates have not been sought, nor do they have a voice on the selection panel; and (2) Billett's company could eventually play a role in the adjudication process.

Says Jim Marshall, the head of the media futures group at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising: "We are unhappy that advertisers and agencies are not more involved. I don't know why John Billett was asked -- I suppose they were looking for a degree of technical expertise."

Bernard Balderston, associate director for media at Procter & Gamble, summarises the concern on the bill-payers' side of the fence: "I can understand the reaction of ISBA [the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers] and the IPA because an adjudicator is in place to protect the interests of advertisers ... the only other concern relating to John Billett is that in some of his submissions he made … reference to his organisation undertaking part of the adjudicator role."

The part-time job is hotly contested, unsurprising given its £100,000 ($169,020; €143,664) annual paycheck. Among the contenders are Bob Wootton, ISBA's director of media affairs; David Cuff, former commercial vice-president at Flextech Television; and quondam Starcom Motive chairman David Connolly.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff