by Bertrand Marotte
The CBC has hired a U.S. firm to spearhead the creation of a new 'brand identity' for its English-language television programming.
The national public broadcaster recently retained the services of Razorfish Inc. of New York City, CBC spokeswoman Ruth-Ellen Soles confirmed yesterday.
'We hired Razorfish to do the branding identity for English television,' she said.
'I can tell you we did a thorough search,' and eight of 12 tendering firms were Canadian, she added.
'This was a very rigorous tendering process.'
Federal government policy requires that ad agencies bidding for government advertising must be 100-per-cent Canadian-owned and controlled, but large Crown corporations like the CBC can set their own policies.
This is the second time within a year that CBC hired a U.S. agency for work related to revamping its English-language TV operations.
Last year, it gave the nod to Ammirati Puris Lintas, a Toronto-based firm owned by New York advertising conglomerate InterPublic Group, to begin the initial phase of the rebranding exercise.
Razorfish is to follow through on the second phase, including implementation of a new look for the Oct. 1 relaunch of CBC English television, said Ms. Soles. She said she believes even the CBC's 'pizza' logo is included in the review.
Previous clients of Razorfish include the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service, CBS, NBC and the high-speed Internet-access firm Road Runner.
Its mandate is to help CBC's English-language television as it goes through a 'transformation exercise, a management process designed to position CBC English television more firmly as Canadian public television,' according to a confidential CBC request for proposals obtained by The Globe and Mail.
Ian Morrison, spokesman for Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, said he's not concerned that an American firm was hired, as long as it is top notch.
'This is not necessarily a bad thing. What we would expect from [the CBC] is that they get the best results,' Mr. Morrison said.
'If they went through an objective process and somebody in New York can do a credible job for them, fine, but it had better be good.'
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