Domino’s Pizza is extending its sponsorship of US cartoon The Simpsons to terrestrial TV in a move that will put further strain on its relationship with Sky One.
A source suggests that the two-month sponsorship of The Simpsons on Channel 4 is a prelude to it being extended into the New Year, despite stringent new rules on advertising foods high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS).
Sky One’s contract with Domino’s ends at the end of next year but sources say BSkyB’s spat with Virgin Media, which has seen the Sky One channel pulled from cable homes, and therefore lost viewers, has put pressure on the partnership.
Channel 4 is also understood to have negotiated “extremely reasonable” rates with Domino’s after failing to secure another brand. Previously, the channel’s prices were too high for Domino’s but its decade-long association with The Simpsons on Sky One put other advertisers off.
Pizza Hut axed its sponsorship of C4’s The Simpsons in November 2005 after the deal inadvertently led to an increase in its rival’s sales.
The BLM Media-negotiated deal with C4 comes exactly 12 months after the pizza brand admitted it was “highly likely” to scrap its long-running sponsorship of the cartoon, albeit on Sky, because of Ofcom rules on advertising foods high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) to under-16s on television announced in November.
But the pizza chain has changed its advertising strategy to comply with new regulations. Advertising now focuses on its services such as text ordering rather than the food itself.
It has said in the past that it does not direct advertising at children and is understood to favour The Simpsons because of its strong connection with a 16to 24-yearold audience.