Mr Bates vs The Post Office and The Power of TV
Let’s talk about the power of TV. Not with fancy charts and research carried out by learned scholars far brighter than myself but instead through the true power of the medium that is television, in living and breathing glorious technicolour.
Let’s talk about Mr Bates vs The Post Office.
Three years ago there was a petition to remove the CBE granted to Paula Vennells due to her role in the wrongful prosecution of 550 Post Office staff as part of the Horizon computer scandal.
Three years ago this petition amassed a paltry 500 signatures despite lots of press coverage, a book, a documentary and a lot of social media.
You’d be correct in assuming the general public had no interest, right? Wrong.
Fast forward three years and ITV bring to screen a dramatisation of the story starring the incredible Toby Jones to ITV1 and ITV X on New Year’s Day… Four episodes later and the petition now stands at a massive 1,039,315.
The first episode aired with 3.9 million viewers.
So we are looking at a response rate in excess of 25%.
Let that sink in.
Four episodes of an ITV drama has not only brought the story to the public consciousness like no other medium has achieved, but it has created action, hard and fast action.
Through the power of incredible content, a story well told, ITV have managed to create outrage, fury, and a mass desire for justice.
We now have police investigations and Prime Minister’s statements. It wasn’t that they didn’t know, it was because until ITV told the story, they could ignore it with no political damage because the voting public knew, but didn’t understand or care.
The point of this post is not about a cry for justice (which there most definitely should be), it’s about the fact that no other medium could create the wave of feeling that TV has produced in the last week, no other medium can create action at such incredible pace and scale.
For me, it confirms what I already knew. It’s about the content and it’s about the message. Get those two things right and TV (be that Linear or catch up) is still, and will always be, the most powerful communication tool we as marketeers have at our disposal.
Any other conclusion just isn’t correct in my humble opinion.
Well done ITV – petition signed!
Credit: Stu Smith, MD of Mostly Media
Image: Maxx-Studio / shutterstock.com