The positioning of dot.com companies in prime sponsorship placement with media owners continues today with two separate deals involving ITV Network and Channel 5. The partnership comes at a time when an increasing number of dot.com companies are advertising in traditional media. The ITV Network has just signed a similar deal with Smile, the internet only banking service from Co-operative Bank, which will sponsor the annual British Comedy Awards for three years. The deal will include branding at the event itself, as well as short films running either side of the ad break. While financial deals have not been revealed, this marks a major step for both brands, as its is the first time the ITV network has appointed an online brand as sponsor to its programmes.
With the growing number of dot.com advertising making its way onto traditional media, there is some speculation that FMCG products are being forced to look elsewhere for placement. Only recently, Procter & Gamble and Unilever were reported as saying that only their core brands will remain part of the future TV campaigns and Carlton Sales is forecasting around 30m will have been spent by dot.com’s on TV advertising this year, rising to a projected 300m next year (around 10% of all TV ad spend).
Channel 5 has already shown its eagerness to accept online sponsors, striking a recent deal with Jungle.com for its evening of programmes dedicated to the internet. Meanwhile, the BBC has just proposed a multi-million pound campaign on commercial TV to push beeb.com’s new shopping portal.
ITV said its deal with Smile is just the first of many future deals with internet services and said it’s more about brand association, as Smile has an obvious fit with the Comedy Awards. The TV deal was negotiated by TSC North and is part of a larger marketing campaign which involved London Underground, television and print is being handled by BDDH. Shopsmart’s campaign was booked by MediaCom TMB and the deal was brokered by Channel Five Sales, Mediacom TMB and MRI.