European television's most valuable sponsorship -- Cadbury Trebor Bassett's £10 million ($18.41m; €14.50m) backing for ITV's top-rated soap Coronation Street -- has finally been renewed after its expiry more than three weeks ago.

Despite both sides' cliffhanging tactics, savvier industry onlookers doubted the deal would fall through. As WAMN observed last week, "there are few [sponsors other than Cadbury] for whom the long-running soap would be such a perfect brand fit. Nor could such a deal be put together overnight."

Rumours at that time were rife that Cadbury's newly-appointed media shop, Publicis Groupe's Starcom Motive, was tightening the price screw, having undertaken in its pitch for the business to reduce the sponsorship's cost [WAMN: 15-Jan-03]. Whether or not it succeeded, only the protagonists know. And their lips are zipped.

The sole public comment came from Graham Duff, managing director of ITV Sales: "We are delighted to confirm that Cadbury is to sponsor Coronation Street for another two years," he droned. "It is not only the biggest sponsorship association in Europe but also the most popular with viewers and consumers alike."

This is eighth consecutive year in which 'Corrie' (as it is affectionately known to soap addicts) has been sponsored by the chocolate giant.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff