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Lineker branded 'greedy' by parents in new survey

LONDON - Gary Lineker's role as the TV advertising spokesman for Walkers has earned him the Greedy Star award in a poll of parents organised by the Food Commission.

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The former England and Tottenham Hotspur footballer is the star of a long-running series of humorous advertisements for Walkers, created by the advertising agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

The latest in the campaign promotes Walkers' tie-in with Comic Relief and features stars such as Liam Neeson and Kate Winslet repelling would-be thief Lineker with farts. Lineker's role in the ads is to steal the crisps and he has been joined over the years by the likes of Liverpool and England star Michael Owen and model Helena Christensen.

Lineker, who is said to have a £1.5m deal with Walkers lasting until 2006, is criticised by the Food Commission for promoting the brand and for letting the company change the name of salt and vinegar flavour to "Salt'n'Lineker".

The Food Commission promotes healthy eating and says that Walkers crisps are high in fat and that a packet of salt and vinegar flavour contains a gram of salt, half the recommended daily allowance for a six-year-old child.

Other stars criticised included Britney Spears for her Pepsi ads, and S Club, who have promoted Sunny Delight.

At the other end of the scale, Jamie Oliver was voted by parents as the food hero, because he made healthy food attractive and "cool" to children.

In the same Children's Food Awards, Kellogg's Coco Pops was voted by parents as the winner in the Breakfast Battles category, as the children's breakfast cereal that kids most want to eat, but which parents would prefer that they did not.

Parents also said they were concerned with the way in which fruit juice drinks were labelled, finding the information and pictures on the labels of brands such as Capri Sun to be misleading.

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