Virgin feels the crunch over DJ Evans' breakfast show

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The Independent Online
Kellogg's Cornflakes has withdrawn sponsorship of Virgin Radio's breakfast show because the programme's new presenter, Chris Evans, does not fit with Kellogg's "family values" image.

The sponsorship, which reportedly would have been worth pounds 4m to Virgin over a number of years, started at the beginning of this year when the breakfast show was hosted by DJs Russ Williams and Jonathan Coleman.

The two DJs - known as Russ and Jono - were unceremoniously dropped by Virgin when it signed a deal last week worth pounds 1m for Chris Evans (right) to take over the breakfast show from Mondays to Thursdays.

An insider at J Walter Thompson, the advertising agency which did the sponsorship deal, said: "Well, you only have to ask: is Chris Evans' brand personality the right fit with Kellogg's brand personality? His risque nature is at obvious dissonance with Kellogg's family values personality."

Evans starts his morning show next Monday, the same day that television presenter Zoe Ball and DJ Kevin Greening begin hosting Radio 1's revamped breakfast show.

John Pearson, managing director of Virgin Radio said that the cereal manufacturer had not pulled money out of the station, only the breakfast show, and a new sponsorship deal is being negotiated for another part of the schedule. Sources at the station also vigorously denied that the sponsorship, which included joint advertising campaigns and on-pack promotions, is worth pounds 4m.

Russ and Jono have completed a week of negotiations with Virgin Radio and have agreed to take over the evening "drivetime" slot.