ITV soap hunting for fresh backer

Amanda%20DonohoeITV is on the hunt for a sponsor for its weekday soap opera Emmerdale to replace Reckitt Benckiser.

The long-running programme attracts nearly 7 million viewers an episode and actors Amanda Donohoe and Maxwell Caulfield have just been introduced to the series.

The deal on offer includes broadcast sponsorship on ITV1, ITV2 and ITV3, online sponsorship of the website and mobile sponsorship, together with branding on ITV’s marketing and off-screen licensing.

Reckitt Benckiser first sponsored Emmerdale in July 2005 in a 12-month deal that has since been extended and has used the agreement to promote its Air Wick brand. The company will maintain its association with the programme until a new sponsor is found. Previous sponsors of the show include Procter & Gamble.

Reckitt Benckiser marketing director Phil Thomas says the show sponsorship has proved “a highly effective marketing tool” and that the broadcaster remained a key partner. He adds: “A shift of strategy on the Air Wick brand means budgets will be redeployed into other activities including spot advertising.”

ITV predicts its advertising revenues will fall 17% in the first quarter of this year.

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