Asda has emerged as a front-runner to take over the £10m sponsorship of ITV’s flagship show Coronation Street. The supermarket giant is believed to be one of six companies still involved in discussions with the broadcaster following incumbent Cadbury’s decision to end its decade-long association.
Branston Pickle owner Premier is also believed to be involved, along with several other large packaged goods brands, according to sources close to discussions.
Sources say Asda is interested in the sponsorship deal following its assertion that it wants to be seen as a “common sense” retailer. It also follows the appointment of marketing director Rick Bendel from Publicis Groupe late last year.
Bendel has already switched Asda’s marketing from 18-year incumbent Publicis to Fallon London and is believed to favour a move away from celebrity-fronted advertising.
Tesco had expressed an interest in the multimedia sponsorship package, which is worth about £10m a year, but the retailer pulled out of talks more than a month ago.
The new package for Coronation Street includes new-media rights, and ITV is said to want to find a sponsor that is keen to exploit the property off-air. Cadbury signed a two-year extension to its sponsorship 12 months ago, but has since decided to move away from an over-arching brand strategy. ITV will take potential sponsors on a tour of the Coronation Street set at its Granada Studios home in Manchester before opening the bidding next month.
One media agency insider says the £10m-a-year asking price for the cross-platform property is “remarkably good value”, although he says only a few brands have the budget or credentials to apply.
Neither Asda nor ITV were available for comment.