Coronation Street and Cadbury's Chocolate
Ever since broadcast sponsorship was permitted on British Television the question had been asked who will
sponsor "The Big One" - Coronation Street?
During 1996 there was much rumour and speculation as to who would be bold enough to put their name to the
biggest broadcast sponsorship opportunity in the country. Coronation Street is the most watched programme on UK
Television; it has a 35 year pedigree and reaches more than 15 million households. Although a number of possible
suitors were mentioned it was Cadbury who came forward with a £10 million package to create a sponsorship which has
set the benchmark for broadcast sponsorship in the UK.
The initial development of the project was through Carat, Cadbury's media buying agency as part of their
response to the problem of increasing cost of television advertising. The sponsorship of Coronation Street allows
Cadbury to stand out in a cluttered confectionery market harnessing unique Cadbury brand values and positioning
that competitors cannot match.
The opportunity has been taken to align two of the nations favourites and leaders in their own market giving an
unprecedented and immensely cost effective viewership reach over 52 weeks of the year. The media package was
brokered between Carat and Granada Media Sales. Mick Desmond Chief Executive of Granada Media Sales said "we
commissioned extensive research to identify the best fit between the programme and brand and I am very pleased that
the perfect balance has been struck between the integrity of the programme and the commercial expectations of the
A key focus for both sponsor and programme maker was the creative quality of the on-air credits. Rarely has
any piece of commercial communication been exposed to such a large audience with such frequency. The Cadbury
credits had to be memorable, impactful without creating wear out Cadbury retained Blair Kremple's Sponsorvision who
commissioned Bark Films and Aardman Animation (famous for their Wallace and Gromit films) to create a "chocolate"
interpretation of Coronation Street with animated characters who have become almost as familiar as the Coronation
Street stars themselves.
Triangle Communications devised two interactive sales promotions which allowed purchases of Cadbury bars to
match special symbols on the inside of the wrapper with symbols or lotto numbers that appeared in the Cadbury
Coronation Street Credits. The first of these promotions entitled "Watch and Win" was massively successful for
Cadbury and gained five awards at the Institute of Sales Promotion including the Grand Prix Prize.
Public relations and editorial promotion of the sponsorship package were handled by Charles Barker BSMG working
in conjunction with both the Granada and Cadbury Press Offices. "This has been a classic exercise in integrated
communications and the close liaison of all agencies with client and broadcaster has been central to the project"
said Steve Gebbett, Managing Director of Charles Barker Marketing.
Specialist media services were provided by Barsby Rowe Media Consultancy which has continued to advise on the
cost efficiency and viewership of the campaign while helping Cadbury to fully exploit the huge volume and range of
audience exposure that Coronation Street sponsorship provides.
Coronation Street appears on a regular basis four times per week with typical audiences of 15 million. In
addition to credits featuring the Cadbury chocolate "Master Brand" the credits also feature brands such as Cadbury
Creme Egg, Roses, Time Out, Crunchie, Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel and Milk Tray. A Cadbury spokesman confirmed "We
remain delighted with our Coronation Street sponsorship. We will continue to ensure that we give full and ongoing
attention to the quality of the credits to minimise wear out and to reflect our commitment to the millions of
viewers who watch Coronation Street every week".
The final word should perhaps go to Millward Brown; specialist Monitoring Agency commissioned by ITV to provide
independent feedback on all sponsorships on Channel 3. Millward Brown confirmed that Coronation Street was "the
most favourable sponsorship relationship researched to date". This would seem a fitting judgement on a very
successful piece of marketing activity, which has only been possible through the combined efforts of so many
individuals and agencies.
Based on an article by Jonathan Gee, in Sponsorship News. Used here by kind permission of