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 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,’