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Six billion, six schmillion

Me, worry? TV3’s director of marketing and communications Roger Beaumont is unfazed by a recent sideswipe from the New Zealand Herald suggesting a striking similarity between a line on the station’s new ‘serious news journalism’ TVC –  “Six billion stories…and counting”  – and SBS’, Australia’s multicultural and multilingual radio and television service, tagline “Six billion stories and counting”.

Spot the difference? Spoiler alert – it’s the wee pause. While SBS keeps its words intact, TV3 breaks the line over two screen shots its TVC, which is an in-house creation.

However, another report suggested SBS director of marketing Jacquie Riddell was a little less chuffed with the likeness and was taking legal advice on the use of the line, a tribute not to the epic work ethic of SBS journalists but the unique story of each person on our increasingly crowded planet earth.

When questioned over whether he had been notified of any potential legal action, Beaumont was quick to laugh it off.

“Not at all. I don’t think they’d be that uptight.”

So, to borrow a line from that groover Pauline Hanson, please explain?

“A couple of points. Firstly it’s not our primary positioning statement. The key line is ‘It’s all about the story’. Secondly, that reference was also in last year’s campaign so it’s over a year old, it’s not like it’s a new phrase.” The line was simply a “passing reference” in the 45 second promo, he added.

Second point duly noted. But if timing is important, SBS may just have rights to being just a little snitchy.

Rather than being a passing reference, the line is core to SBS branding. Website guff tells us:  “Quite apart from matching our acronym (Six Billion Stories/Special Broadcasting Service) we realised that at our essence, SBS is about showcasing individuals with unique stories that enrich, entertain and educate us.” It also mentions that the rebranding – which begat the tagline and a new logo – involved an 18 month research period and “series of intensive” (and one might hazard a guess, rather costly) creative sessions which began in 2005.

Riddell was not available for comment when contacted by Stoppress.

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