Sainsbury’s takes first step into TV sponsorship

Sainsbury’s is moving into tele-vision sponsorship for the first time by backing a twice-weekly cookery slot on GMTV, starring celebrity cook Jane Asher.

The first of the programmes, entitled “The 12 days of Christmas”, went on air this week as part of a six-week series which will end just before Christmas.

“It’s a standard sponsorship deal with Sainsbury’s name at the start and finish of the programme and on the recipes accompanying it,” says a spokeswoman for the supermarket.

“Sainsbury’s stocks the Jane Asher own-label range of cakes so the sponsorship fits us nicely.”

The programme ties in with a campaign, through Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, featuring celebrities and their favourite recipes and ending with the strapline: “Sainsbury’s: everyone’s favourite ingredient.”

Sainsbury’s will not reveal the cost of the deal.

The five-minute slot will feature recipes for Christmas food and drinks as well as giving advice on decoration. A one-off special of the slot will be shown offering last-minute hints in the week before Christmas.

The deal is Sainsbury’s second venture into media sponsorship – the grocery superstore sponsors radio station Classic FM’s morning recipe feature, which is presented by celebrity chef Michael Barry.

Virgin Interactive Entertainment, never one to shy away from con-troversy, is to run a press campaign through TBWA featuring a crashed car and the line: ‘Every Christmas the roads are full of mad men. Join them.’ The advertisement is for its computer game, Screamer, which according to a spokesman lets players ‘drive very fast and would scare the pants off a very brave person with their pants stapled on’. Virgin Interactive’s vice-president, marketing Simon Jeffery denies the ad is offensive. ‘It also states if you are going to drink and drive this Christmas do it at home, which is a responsible message,’ he says.

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