NEWS: BBC finds first sponsor in Air Canada

The BBC is to air its first sponsorship message this weekend in a deal that underlines the growing commercialisation of the corporation.

The BBC is to air its first sponsorship message this weekend in a deal

that underlines the growing commercialisation of the corporation.

Air Canada has signed up as sponsor of the Naked Hollywood series which

breaks on BBC World - the corporation’s pan-European satellite news

channel - this Sunday. It is the first time that a BBC programme has

been sponsored in Europe.

The deal was engineered by McCann-Erickson Worldwide Media in London and

IP Network TSMS, the sales house for BBC World, and incorporates front-

and end-credits around the five-part series.

McCanns has devised sponsorship credits built around the agency’s

Executive First ad campaign for Air Canada, which stars the comedian,

Mike McShane. Both McCanns and TSMS refused to comment on the value of

the deal.

The sponsorship tie-up opens up a new stream of revenue for the BBC. The

BBC World channel, an international news and information service

broadcasting via satellite to 15.5 million homes throughout Europe,

already takes traditional spot advertising.

But the opportunity for advertisers to associate their commercial

message more subtly with the BBC’s programming through a sponsorship

association is a new initiative. TSMS was given the green light to woo

sponsors from January this year, and eight BBC World programmes are

currently up for grabs.

Hugh Williams, the director of broadcasting for BBC Worldwide

Television, said that he hoped the Air Canada association would ‘be the

first of many similar deals’.

Kate Bolwell, a board account director at McCann-Erickson, said that Air

Canada’s objective was to make its modest ad budget work as hard as

possible across Europe.

‘It is a high-visibility opportunity for Air Canada and we have already

begun to look at other suitable opportunities for other clients,’

Bolwell commented.

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