Bupa signs up to sponsor primetime Clunes drama

BUPA, the private healthcare company, is to sponsor the forthcoming series of hit ITV drama Doc Martin, starring Martin Clunes.

It takes over from Australian wine brand Lindemans, which signed with the show in a £3m partnership that also included crime drama Vincent two years ago. The comedy drama stars Clunes as a curmudgeonly doctor, seemingly out of place in his rural Cornwall surroundings.

BUPA’s deal will cover broadcast sponsorship on ITV1 as well as itv.com. It was negotiated by BUPA media planning and buying agency Starcom, with WCRS creating the idents.

The deal follows the repositioning of the healthcare company in March this year with an ad campaign also created by WCRS, as revealed by marketingweek.co.uk (March 12).

BUPA World was designed to appeal to younger audiences and marked a U-turn in strategy by the healthcare provider, which admitted previous work had been viewed as dull and unimaginative.

It featured characters represented by coloured shapes instead of using real people talking about their health issues. It is thought sponsorship idents will continue this theme.

BUPA began as The British United Provident Association in 1947, a year ahead of the introduction of the National Health Service. It believed that there would still be a need for paid-for services to complement the NHS.

It now has more than seven million customers across the world. Its biggest service remains health insurance in the UK, although operations also include childcare, travel services and health assessments.

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