MEDIA: Wella to follow Friends to Sky

Wella has clinched a deal to sponsor the new series of Friends on Sky Television in a move which places a question mark over its high-profile association with Channel 4.

Wella has clinched a deal to sponsor the new series of Friends on

Sky Television in a move which places a question mark over its

high-profile association with Channel 4.



The haircare company has struck a pounds 500,000 deal through Drum PHD

to promote its shampoo and conditioner brand, Experience, by sponsoring

the fourth series of Friends.



The series will be shown exclusively on Sky One from January next year

and will run for 22 episodes.



The pounds 5m deal with Channel 4, which was signed last February, is

currently under review.



The current series of Friends ends this week and sources suggest Wella

may not renew the deal and is considering cutting back substantially on

its above-the-line expenditure.



Heather Cooper, marketing group manager at Wella, said that the Channel

4 review would be concluded in the ’fairly near future’.



She added that the Sky deal was the basis for a burst of other marketing

activity on the brand.



Cooper declined to reveal details but said that Experience was keen to

exploit its association with Friends to the full throughout 1998.



Cooper acknowledged that Friends would attract a smaller audience on Sky

than it had on Channel 4 but she said that different audience levels had

been worked into the terms of the new contract.



The new series of Friends is expected to reach an audience of over a

million a week on Sky One. On Channel 4, previous series have attracted

audiences of up to five million.



Sue Watson, sponsorship sales controller at Sky, said: ’Friends

constitutes a major part of our ’See it first on Sky’ programming

strategy.’



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