How to identify with idents
Sponsorship idents are tricky things to get right.
Formats are short, with slightly awkward lengths to contend with.
You can’t advertise – idents don’t allow sales messages or calls to action.
There is less time to play with than a traditional ad, so emotional engagement is even more important. Something that entertains, intrigues or amuses might hook in a viewer’s mind. Do something else and you might just lose them.
Relevance is crucial. If you can make a genuine connection between a programme, the interests of the people who have chosen to watch it and the idents in the breaks, then an audience is more likely to engage.
Do it in a way that feels awkward, with tenuous links, clumsily made, then your idents are more likely to irritate than resonate.
Perhaps the hardest thing to pull off is producing a set of idents that both stand out and comfortably bear repeat viewing.
With idents – especially those seen very frequently across a major event, or whole channel – it’s often not long before a particular gag, sound effect, music track, or even an actor’s face starts to grate.
After the twentieth, tenth, or second viewing (we all have our personal limits) some idents will have you clenching your jaw and contemplating smashing the screen in.
Whatever the tone – from the banterish comedy, game-play based punning approach, (often used for sports), to the erudite, or the left-field – the best idents have one thing in common: they keep things simple.
Effective idents know what they are there for – they make their mark quickly, then get out of the way. Compare the Market have done this well with Coronation Street, while Honda’s C4 Documentaries sponsorship always stayed interesting without wearing too quickly.
At Atomic we have recently made a new set of idents for Viking Ocean Cruises on ITV 3. Our way of standing out, was to create a series of idents that would provide an oasis of calm when set against the frenetic pace of the rest of the ad break.
Many of the programmes shown on ITV3 early evenings are detective, or murder mystery shows – often watched by a sophisticated older audience.
We tried to make a thematic link between the TV detectives’ way of viewing the world – a keen sense of curiosity and interest in both details and the wider world around them – and the aspirations of an experienced audience who enjoy travel and may relish a Viking Ocean Cruise.
Visually each ident gives a brief, intriguing glimpse of a ship-board detail, before transitioning to a wider shot of the surrounding space. Titles helped to reinforce the connection by using language focused on curiosity, adventure and exploration.
We hope that this mix of beautifully shot scenes, intriguing details and a relaxed, calming tone, will stand the test of time and will please our audience and pique their interest, rather than simply get on their nerves, as they restlessly flick through the channels.
By Matt Gilbert, Creative Director at Atomic.