Ant & Dec's celebrity star power on the rise for ITV advertisers

Ant and Dec: last night's final of I'm a Celeb got an average of 9.7 million viewers
Ant and Dec: last night's final of I'm a Celeb got an average of 9.7 million viewers

Ant and Dec have been presenters with ITV for more than 15 years but rather than turning stale, their value is increasing.

They demonstrated their unique pulling power with the 15th series of I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, which ended on Sunday and regularly brought in audiences of seven million-plus a night during its run – ahead of The X Factor on some days.

Last night's final got an average of 9.7 million viewers and a 42 per cent share.

But for real proof of the Geordie presenting duo’s value, look at Suzuki’s estimated £20 million two-year deal to sponsor Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway in 2016 and 2017.

The agreement, announced last week, is not just an ordinary sponsorship of the ITV commercial breaks, with some further marketing online and off-screen, as food brand Aunt Bessie's has done with I'm A Celebrity.

The Suzuki deal is one of Britain’s biggest TV sponsorship deals outside of sport.

In the words of Kelly Williams, the managing director of commercial at ITV, "it’s a much larger partnership" involving not only the advertiser and the broadcaster but also the show’s biggest presenting talent.

For a start, Ant and Dec will make ads for Suzuki, featuring skits that are "very much in the look and tone and feel" of Saturday Night Takeaway, both during the commercial breaks on the show and at other times.

ITV Commercial and production company ITN Productions will also create longer online, branded video content, featuring Ant and Dec, and Suzuki will license the show and its presenters for content in its car showrooms and on a national roadshow.

No wonder Dale Wyatt, the director, sales and marketing, at Suzuki GB, describes it as a partnership "with a level of integration not seen before".

Williams said: "What’s unique is because we’re a producer-broadcaster, as opposed to just a broadcaster, we have access to the talent and the licensing for all the IP."

ITV Commercial’s newly-formed division ITV AdVentures, which aims to be one-stop shop for talent, production, distribution and promotion, has agreed the deal with the car brand and its media agency, the7stars.

Jenny Biggam, the chief executive of the7stars, says the involvement of Ant and Dec doing ads in the tone of the show during the show’s commercial breaks is ground-breaking.

She said: "I’ve never seen any broadcaster do this before. I think it’s unique. It’s one thing to have talent in the break, but it’s another thing to have the programme in the break."

Thank the regulator, Ofcom, which decided a few years ago to relax rules that used to forbid advertisers from linking to programming content during a show.

For Suzuki, choosing Ant and Dec made sense because the car brand wanted to focus on the values of family, fun and friends and the presenters are the biggest stars on Britain's most popular commercial channel.

Biggam said: "You couldn’t get a better fit than Ant and Dec."

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