Domino’s Pizza is ending its sponsorship of Sky One cult cartoon The Simpsons after ten years – the longest running sponsorship on multi-channel TV.
The decision to pull out of the deal, thought to be worth about £2m a year, leaves Sky Media looking for a sponsor for the popular cartoon series, which is broadcast on Sky One every night. The entertainment channel shows two or three episodes a night and also premieres new Simpsons series four years before they are broadcast on other channels.
Sources close to the sponsorship deal, which ends on December 31, say that Domino’s has taken the decision for “commercial reasons”, but it closely follows the recent ban on television advertising food high in fat, salt or sugar around children’s programming.
The pizza brand was close to axing the partnership after the Ofcom rules were announced two years ago, but instead changed strategy to show services, such as online pizza ordering, rather than the products itself.
Domino’s has some products that do not fall foul of the advertising restrictions, enabling them to be shown.
The Simpsons is the longest running show on Sky One. Up to 8 million people watch the show every month, around 400,000 people each episode.
Domino’s sales and marketing director Robin Auld says the sponsorship helped establish the pizza brand in the UK and Ireland but says it is “time to move on”.
It is thought that Domino’s will increase its £18m marketing spend in line with its business growth.
Earlier this year, Domino’s sponsored the first series of ITV1 variety show Britain’s Got Talent.