Friday, March 09, 2007
Carphone Warehouse has decided to end its sponsorship of Big Brother following the race row that dominated the celebrity version of the show earlier this year.
The mobile retailer had initially suspended its adverts accompanying the Channel 4 show in January at the height of criticism that Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty was a victim of racial bullying at the hands of fellow contestants.
And it has now taken the decision to cancel the 3 million contract altogether after "huge publicity" forced it to look elsewhere. Channel 4 has said it has already begun looking at potential sponsors for this summer's non-celebrity version of the show.
The alleged racial-bullying of Shetty, 31, by former Big Brother contestant Jade Goody, singer Jo O'Meara and model Danielle Lloyd caused an international incident after the issue was raised in the House of Commons and during a trip to India by chancellor Gordon Brown.
And broadcasting watchdog Ofcom received 50,000 complaints from viewers complaining about the treatment of the Bollywood star.
All the supposed perpetrators have denied that their behaviour towards Shetty, the eventual winner of the series, was racially motivated but have offered apologies for the way in which they treated the actress.
"We have sponsored Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother for four years. We constantly review our sponsorship relationships and feel that having suspended the sponsorship during this year's Celebrity Big Brother now is a good time to look at the partnership again," a Carphone Warehouse spokesperson said.
"We have concluded that the huge publicity around the show and our involvement within that means that now is the time for us to look for an alternative.
"We will continue to invest a large proportion of our media spend with Channel 4 both in TV airtime and online this will include Big Brother programming. And we look forward to continuing our long-term strategic relationship with the channel," the representative added.