ITV Director visits The Misbourne Sixth Form

Chris Goldson, Director of Creative Works and Commercial Marketing, ITV, visited The Misbourne Sixth Form on Friday 19 October for a talk to Sixth Formers made possible by the Speakers 4 Schools charity.  The visit forms part of the school’s careers strategy to make possible as many employer encounters for students with leaders from national roles in technology, science, politics, the media and more.   Judging by the number of students lining up to ask one-to-one questions to Chris at the end, it was a huge success.

Chris’s talk started with a clip from classic ITV show ‘Surprise, Surprise’, in which a deserving member of the public was rewarded with a shock lunch with music superstar Pharrell Williams.  The point was clear – TV has an amazing ability to connect with people emotionally, it brings people together.   In turn, advertisers want to harness that connection and “turn tales into sales”.

Chris showed the first ever advert on ITV following its launch in 1955, a toothpaste advert.  Things have come a long way of course, with highly creative and imaginative advertising campaigns now spanning many formats of media, and with many different people involved, from advertising agencies to media agencies, media owners and broadcasting companies.

It was fascinating to see the journey of an idea from conception to broadcast.  Chris showed a very powerful example, a campaign on This Morning to highlight the taboo issue of male suicide. This campaign, involving both celebrities and a visual series of statues placed on top of a tall building as if considering jumping, was commented on all around the world and reinforced the incredible impact TV can have on raising awareness, connecting with emotions and starting a national conversation. Jeremy Corbyn was shown referencing the campaign in Parliament and the government have recently appointed their first minister for suicide prevention.

Talking through his career route to where he is now, Chris gave backing to all the ‘softer’ employability skills that we want students to develop alongside their studies, and reminded students to take a step back from all the decisions they feel they need to make about their futures, and listen to themselves.   What do they want to do, what do they love doing?  And in which careers can they combine those things.   He ended on a really nice note about always developing and embracing new skills and challenges – the very same point Amazon director Rishi Saha made to students last term – he was gaining a new experience too by meeting students and giving talks with the Speakers 4 Schools charity.   We were very grateful for that.

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