BBC First signs sponsorship deal with Smeg

 BBC First has unveiled home appliance maker Smeg as its new channel sponsor as the channel acquires two new dramas: A Very English Scandal and Vanity Fair. 

Hugh Grant in A Very English Scandal

The announcement:


Smeg will become the channel sponsor for BBC First from July 1.  The deal comes as BBC First continues to grow its audiences across the key ad sales demo of People 25-54, with live audiences up 25% over the last twelve months across the day*. The sponsorship will see a string of highly-anticipated dramas featuring big names hitting the screen in the coming months.

The critically acclaimed A Very English Scandal is the shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for conspiracy to murder. In the late 1960s, homosexuality has only just been decriminalized, and Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal party and the youngest leader of any British political party in a hundred years, has a secret he’s desperate to hide. As long as Norman Scott, his vociferous ex-lover is around, Thorpe’s brilliant career is at risk, and eventually Thorpe can see only one way to silence Scott for good. The trial of Jeremy Thorpe changed politics forever as the British public discover the darkest secrets of the Establishment and the lengths they’d go to conceal them.

For period drama lovers, Gwyneth Hughes’s (Victoria) adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair brings the novel to life in way that will really connect with a modern audience.  Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, the series follows Becky Sharp (Olivia Cooke) as she attempts to claw her way out of poverty and scale the heights of English Society. Her story of “villainy, crime, merriment, lovemaking, jilting, laughing, cheating, fighting and dancing”, takes her all the way to the court of King George IV, via the Battle of Waterloo, breaking hearts and losing fortunes as she goes. The series also features Michael Palin and Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster).

These two new acquisitions join Patrick Melrose, premiering on BBC First from July 23.  Starring Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Benedict Cumberbatch and featuringHugo Weaving and Jennifer Jason Leigh, the series is based on the novels of Edward St Aubyn and adapted by acclaimed author and screenwriter David Nicholls (One Day) and won praise from audiences and critics alike with its recent screenings in the UK and US.

Smeg’s six-month package, developed by Multi Channel Network, will see BBC Studios creative team produce a series of bespoke channel assets across on-air, digital and social platforms.  These include integrated billboards, channel idents and behind the scenes footage giving viewers extra insight into these high-end shows.

Katrina Norton-Knight, Head of Brand Partnerships & Channels Advertising, BBC Studios, Australia and New Zealand said: “We are delighted to have Smeg as BBC First’s new channel sponsor. The premium brand is an excellent fit with BBC First which has seen impressive audience growth this year driven by a combination of some of the most exciting and talked about new shows coming out of the UK together with a slate of hugely popular returning dramas that audiences tune in to again and again. 

Olivia Anderson, National Marketing Manager, Smeg Australia said, “For 70 years, Smeg has created appliances with superior technology and style as a result of our partnerships with world famous architects. Our partnership with BBC First befits Smeg, which has been celebrating world firsts since the launch of Elisabeth, the world’s first programmable cooker in 1956. This Spring Smeg is proudly launching Dolce Stil Novo, our finest collection ever, which will be showcased across BBC First as part of the Channel sponsorship. For us it was a natural synergy of innovation and a celebration of dramatic results – this time in the kitchen.”

Source: BBC First


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