Cadbury, the confectionery and drinks group, has struck a pounds 10m sponsorship deal with Coronation Street, Granada's flagship show, which enables the Cadbury name to appear with the opening and closing credits. It also includes off-air promotion using the show's stars.
The on-air sponsorship will start in September, to coincide with the introduction of a fourth episode of Coronation Street. The deal concludes months of negotiation by Cadbury for the right to be associated with the 35-year-old soap.
Last August Granada had appeared to come close to a deal with Pedigree Petfoods. It has also been talking to drinks firm Allied Domecq.
"We see the association as very much bringing together two of the nation's favourites," Cadbury's marketing director, Alan Palmer, said.
Yesterday Cadbury declined to specify what the extra duties of the cast would be, although discussions with Granada are expected to centre on photo-opportunities and advertising promotions for competitions.
Yesterday actor Bill Roach, who plays Ken Barlow, posed with Barbara Knox, who plays Rita, beside a huge bar of white Cadbury's chocolate in the shape of the Coronation Street sign.
Andrea Wonfor, Granada's joint managing director, said viewers would not be seeing gratuitous close-ups of Cadbury products in Rita's Kabin.
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