Lineker Is Forced to Take a Crisp Break

Daily Mail (London), January 24, 2007 | Go to article overview

Lineker Is Forced to Take a Crisp Break


ONE of sport sponsorship's longest and most successful partnerships, between Gary Lineker and Walkers Crisps. will be affected by new advertising laws relating to junk food.

The regulations brought in by TV advertising watchdog OFCOM to further the campaign against obesity, severely restrict the use of celebrities in promoting food and drink products high in fat, salt and sugar content, and have already impacted on British tennis star Andy Murray's endorsements.

Soft drinks brand Robinsons, synonymous with the Wimbledon fortnight, have sponsored Murray since he was 13. But they were unable to renew their endorsement patch on his shirt before his heroics in the Australian Open, because the new advertising rules meant they couldn't commit to another long-term deal.

The restrictions have stopped all advertising of targeted food and drink in any children's programmes or those watched by a large percentage of under 16s. Highland Spring water took advantage of Robinsons' problems and signed up Murray last month on a four-year contract, understood to be worth [pounds sterling]1million.

Walkers TV commercials, featuring BBC football presenter Lineker, started on his return from Japan in 1995 and made the former England captain as famous for his connection with crisps as he was as a top player.

Lineker's 13-year contract with the firm, which has helped make him a multimillionaire as well as being credited with the sale of more than a billion extra packets of crisps, expires at the end of the year.

His advisors are in current talks with the snack food giant, whose brands have included Salt'n Lineker. But although Walkers regularly advertise after the TV watershed, any future deal will now have to take the new rules into account.

BBC and ITV have always joined forces when it comes to coverage of the major football championships and already have deals in place for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. …

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