Lineker's Walkers ads top poll after obesity controversy

LONDON - The debate about obesity and the role of junk food advertising have made Gary Lineker's association with Walkers Crisps the most-written-about advertising during May.

According to the Ads that Make News survey, produced by Propeller Communications and Durrants Media Monitoring, there were more stories about Walkers' advertising, which was mentioned by name in a House of Commons health obesity committee report along with its new Sensations ads with Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, than any other campaigns during the past month.

Despite the outcry, Lineker vowed to continue appearing in advertising for Walkers, saying that crisps could be eaten as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Allegations of racism pushed ads for Galaxy ice-cream to number two on the list. Mars withdrew 2,000 posters featuring the words "eeny meeny miny mo" after complaints from equality campaigners. The ad was created by Grey London.

Other controversial ads on the list included, at number four, an ad to encourage people to vote in the European Parliament elections, which showed a woman breastfeeding and, the debut UK television ads for Trojan condoms, which claimed to show the first orgasm in British advertising history, at number seven.

Barclaycard signing Jennifer Aniston, Sainsbury's re-signing Jamie Oliver and Gillette recruiting David Beckham for its global advertising filled out positions three, four and eight on the list respectively, while stories about the wisdom of Australia spending £150m on a tourism push when so many Brits already visit the country made it the sixth most-written-about advertising story.

Martin Loat, director of Propeller Communications, said: "As the junk food and obesity debate raged this month, it is obvious that the media would want to highlight ads featuring famous faces in its coverage. So Walkers' long-standing Gary Lineker spots and the new Tara Palmer-Tomkinson commercial were obvious targets. Such negative publicity may be unwelcome. But constantly being cited in newspapers and on television news means Walkers can take some comfort knowing that its advertisements are a national institution."

Ads that Make News is compiled by measuring the volume of editorial coverage in the national press about individual advertising.

The full list of ads for May is:

1 Walkers

2 Galaxy racism allegations

3 Barclaycard signs Aniston

4 Sainsbury's re-signs Oliver

5 European Parliament nipple

6 Australia tourism ads

7 Trojan "first orgasm"

8 Gillette signs Beckham

9 Churchill fights sale of fake dogs

10 Jaguar apologises over offensive mailer

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