ITC decides Vauxhall broke rule in World Cup sponsorship deal

The controversial sponsorship by Vauxhall of ITV’s World Cup coverage this summer has hit the headlines again after it was found to be in breach of the Independent Television Commission code.

The controversial sponsorship by Vauxhall of ITV’s World Cup

coverage this summer has hit the headlines again after it was found to

be in breach of the Independent Television Commission code.



According to the ITC’s latest programme complaints report, the

sponsorship contravened rules governing the separation of an

advertiser’s sponsorship credits from its advertising campaign and from

the programme being sponsored.



The ITC Code of Programme Sponsorship prohibits sponsor’s credits from

containing elements which closely resemble the sponsor’s television

ads.



Two viewers contacted the ITC to complain about the similarity between

the sponsor credits and two Vauxhall ads. Both featured football

personalities and false voiceovers.



Carlton Television along with TSMS, the sales house which handled World

Cup sponsorship on behalf of the ITV network, argued that the

sponsorship voiceover styles, footage and messages were different from

the ads.



However, while the ITC accepted that steps were taken to make some

distinctions between the ads and the credits, it decided that the

differences were not enough to satisfy the code requirements.



At the same time, the ITC’s own monitoring found that the England

manager, Glenn Hoddle, appeared in both a programme interview and in the

sponsor’s credits that followed. The code prohibits a ’performer’ from

appearing in the credits as well as in the actual programme being

sponsored.



Carlton and TSMS argued that the Hoddle interview had been included in

the programme at short notice and that they did not consider Hoddle to

be a ’performer’ as defined by the code. But the ITC considers anyone

making a speaking appearance in a programme to be a ’performer’.



The ITC ruled that, in both cases, the sponsorship credits were in

breach of the code.



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