Monkey owners donate mascot to Comic Relief

LONDON - The long-running custody battle over Monkey, the former star of ITV Digital's ads, is at an end, with the parties involved agreeing to give the advertising icon to Comic Relief.

Monkey will play a key role in the TV coverage of Comic Relief on March 14 and will appear in TV and poster advertising.

Marketing has previously revealed that the liquidation of ITV's ill-fated digital venture placed the popular character at the centre of a fierce legal battle.

Mother, the agency behind the ITV Digital ads, asserted ownership, while the administrators Deloitte & Touche were treating Monkey as an asset to be sold to appease ITV Digital's creditors.

But talks between Mother, character licensors Jim Henson, puppet-makers Animal Magic and the administrators last week concluded with its donation to Comic Relief. Mother will manage the use of Monkey in any ads, providing its creative resource for free.

"We would rather kill Monkey than let someone abuse him. But now we've got him out of the hands of the administrators, his career will be relaunched," Andy Medd, partner at Mother, said.

Walkers Crisps drafted Monkey in for its latest advertising campaign, in conjunction with Comic Relief. The ad shows numerous celebrities, including Zoe Ball and Liam Neeson, thwarting Gary Lineker's attempts to steal their baked-bean flavoured crisps with a timely fart. Monkey also joins in the flatulent action, despite the fact he has someone's hand up his proverbial.

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