Pepsi in C5 sponsorship deal to ‘hijack’ football

PepsiCo is stepping up its attack on Coca-Cola’s “ownership” of football by funding a TV programme on Channel 5.

The show, called Inside Football, forms part of Pepsi’s plans to wrest the sport from rival Coke, which has spent millions of pounds on sponsorship and advertising as part of its “Eat football, sleep football, drink Coca-Cola” strategy.

The half-hour show will run initially for eight weeks. It is expected to cover football news and features, although the exact content has yet to be decided. There are also plans to broadcast the show on satellite channels.

The Independent Television Commission has strict codes covering advertiser-funded programming. Both product placement and the “undue prominence” of a product are banned. But Britvic head of carbonates David Graham says: “There will be quite a lot of blue on the programme.”

Two weeks ago, Britvic Soft Drinks, which markets Pepsi in the UK, unveiled the brand’s first major football promotion, for which it has signed top stars such as David Beckham, Michael Owen and Dwight York (MW March 2).

Graham adds: “We are aiming to expand our youth marketing and hijack football – in a similar way to how we have captured the music market.”

Pepsi funds the Pepsi Chart on C5 – produced by GMG Endemol’s production arm Initial.

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