When you are asked about your ‘position’ on something, what do you do?
- State your position.
- State a position that you think they want to hear.
- Hedge. Sit somewhere between 1 and 2. Not revealing anything concrete at all.
You may not know this, but I am occasionally called by the BBC to comment on my position on certain topics on air.
It’s normally things to do with design, brand, marketing and advertising. Quite recently I was asked to comment on the furore over ITV2 taking advertising revenue for cosmetic surgery adverts during the ad breaks in Love Island.
I am brought in on all the big stories.
A few years ago I was asked to comment on whether Cheryl Tweedy/Cole/whatever would be damaging her personal brand if she changed her name when marrying Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini in July 2014.
I am clearly held in extremely high regard by the BBC.
Anyhow, with regards to Love Island, what they asked me specifically was, do I think that ITV2 should shift their position and not allow the cosmetic surgery brands to advertise within a programme that itself (allegedly) promoted young people going under the knife.
I answered quickly.
I said (something along the lines of) “ITV2 hold ‘no position’ on the subject of whether young people should be exposed to cosmetic surgery advertising or not. They don’t care.”
This was not what the BBC journalist wanted to hear. So he dug deeper. I explained,
“If you are exploring ITV2’s ‘position’ on the subject of whether they think young people should be sold cosmetic surgery or not, you are asking the wrong question.”
This was live in air. I went on:
“I believe that ITV2 care only about advertising revenue. And because advertising revenue is directly linked to viewing figures, whether ITV2 choose to allow the ads or disallow the ads, they will still not have shifted their actual position.”
“ITV2 have two choices.
“First, keep the ads (and the ad revenue) if they think the furore will die down. They clearly have no objection to the ads as they chose to air them in the first place.
“Second, ITV2 could pull the ads and lose revenue from those ads. But they will only do this if they think that by keeping the ads, viewers would walk, adversely affecting viewing figures and potentially damaging overall advertising revenues from other ‘spenders’.
“So in summary, ITV2 don’t give a toss about the issue you’ve raised – only the issue of their revenues. They will do what is best for their income.”
This is quite a grumpy story isn’t it? So I do apologise. But on this occasion with the BBC I did want to get my position on matters like this, over.
I don’t know if I am right or not. But I do get fed up with big brands and organisations pretending to believe in or not believe in one thing or another simply to turn a profit.
I prefer people, brands and organisations with principles that they stick to. Even if that means short term losses.
And anyhow; they asked me my position – so I told them. Scroll back to the top…
… I chose ‘1’.