Case studies
TV Licensing Renewals

Semiotic and discourse analysis of how and why TV Licensing renewal letters were failing to encourage prompt renewals among licence fee payers – and how to change this.

What was the challenge? TV Licensing letters inviting people to renew their licences were not having the desired effect, and response rates were low and sluggish, especially among women.

What did we do? We examined TV Licensing’s existing renewal letters and other comparable direct mail communications in the UK, using semiotics and discourse analysis to identify the gap between the brand’s desired effect and the semiotic methods it was using.

– Dominant: Authoritarian threat coded by boxes and linear layout, blue and black colours, parental tone of voice and male personality

– Emergent: Enabling personality coded by use of white space, lime green colour, dynamic icons, and friendly peer-to-peer tone of voice

Where did it lead? The TV Licensing renewal letters were rewritten and redesigned, leading the incumbent DM agency to be rehired and a follow-on campaign to be designed on the new semiotics-driven brand platform.

TV Licensing before and after