C4 hunts Hollyoaks sponsor after Nescafé steps down

Channel 4 is seeking a sponsor for Hollyoaks after Nestlé decided not to renew Nescafé’s £9.5m year-long sponsorship deal made last June.

Channel 4 is seeking a sponsor for Hollyoaks after Nestlé decided not to renew Nescafé’s £9.5m year-long sponsorship deal made last June.

Hollyoaks is Channel 4’s largest single sponsorship property. Nestlé signed up to the teen soap last year in a bid to attract younger consumers to its instant coffee brand, which had been hit by falling sales. This has been partly caused by the popularity of coffee bars.

The sponsorship marked a new strategy for the brand, which had previously relied on celebrities such as Ian Wright and Denise Van Outen in its ads. In the face of declining sales a new quirky TV campaign featuring a Ford Capri with an Afro, and the Hollyoaks sponsorship were devised and. Nescafé also funded a Channel 4 show about people’s experiences of being homeless. It was presented by Hollyoaks actor Jamie Luke, whose character Norman was made homeless in the soap.

A Channel 4 spokesman says Nestlé intended to sponsor Hollyoaks for only a year and confirmed that the channel was looking for a new sponsor for the soap, which has a core audience of 16- to 24-year-olds.

In February, Kraft Foods followed Nestlé’s example by signing a £1.5m year-long deal for its coffee brand Kenco Rappor to sponsor comedy and entertainment shows on Channel 4 and E4. The aim of the link-up is to target youth (MW February 20).

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