Team of the Week: Flextech TV

BBC1 controller Lorraine Heggessey this week said that she wants the image of the corporation to be more "Audley Harrison rather than Auntie".

The Flextech team

Based on one busy floor at Flextech's Great Portland Street headquarters, the 120-strong sales team has recently increased the size of its dedicated interactive sales team.

The multi-channel TV player obviously wants to keep its position at the forefront of the digital revolution, responding to the new technologies emerging every day and turning them into viable advertising propositions.

The team's other departments include sponsorship, agency sales, commercial operations and new business.

"Everybody sells everything and the aim is to deliver integrated solutions," says sales director Mark Howe.

"So its's not just about selling spots, it's about selling the value of the digital consumer.

"Importantly, we're educating the agency and advertiser community about the power of digital TV and the digital propositions we have to offer."

Agency sales director Martin Plant's 45-strong team plays an important part in this education process. The division's clients include all the main players - agency sales manager Paul Barrett's four-strong team, for example, deals with CIA, Universal McCann, All Response Media, John Ayling & Associates, CDP and TCS Media.

"We may not be their biggest supplier, but we hopefully get to know them better than the other contractors by looking at new ideas about how to develop their budgets beyond what they're doing already," says Barrett.

Bigger deals struck by the team include Gartmore's sponsorship of Discovery Today and Hula Hoops' sponsorship on Trouble.

Flextech has also attracted TV advertisers across to its websites such as Trouble.co.uk, Bravo.co.uk and LivingTV.co.uk.

Also sold by the team since it merged with Telewest last year, Telewest Active Digital is the largest iTV shopping mall in the world. It is carried on Open and has 168 advertiser locations, which have been used by clients including Ladbrokes, Marks & Spencer and Thomas Cook.

The team sells on behalf of 21 brands, the best known being UK Gold, Discovery, Living and Bravo. Barrett says he and his colleagues get a real creative kick out of being asked what direction channels such as Bravo and UK Play should take with their programming.

"One of our ethics is that we all work hard as a team and then we go out and enjoy each other's company," says Barrett.

Barrett and a handful of well-dressed gents from the sales team recently won Media Week's "Best dressed person in ad land" competition on our Wind Up page.

Further evidence that these were boys who liked to have fun in a smart-casual way came in the form of a surreal snap of Barrett on a night out with group head Lee Leborgne, posing with Eddie Large and Sir Ted Rogers.

The team's latest night out saw more than 100 of them cramming into nearby Needle's wine bar for a quiz hosted by communications manager Gareth "Gaz Groove" Vaughan-Jones. The agency sales lot also recently hit the Wimbledon dog track.

"I came out about £20 down, but (broadcast manager) Tim Ward proved to be a bit of a trickster with the forecasts and won about £80," says Barrett.

KEY PERSONNEL

Mark Howe, sales director; Martin Plant, director of agency sales; James Wildman, director of digital sales and commercial development; Julia Jordan, director of broadcast; Ray Blaney, director of commercial operations.

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