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Quaker scraps Radcliffe 'helps you go the distance' ads

LONDON - Paula Radcliffe, the record-breaking long-distance runner who failed to complete two races at this year's Olympics, has lost out on an advertising deal with porridge brand Quakers Oatso Simple, which had the strapline 'helps you go the distance'.

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According to reports over the weekend, Radcliffe had been signed to appear in an ad campaign promoting Quakers, after often saying in interviews that porridge was an important part of her diet.

But since her failure to complete the marathon, which she had been heavily tipped to win, and the 10,000 metres in Athens last month, plans for the advertising campaign have been scrapped.

However, Quaker Oats has denied that the reason for the change is because of Radcliffe's failure, but because the slogan, "helps you go the distance", had not been given the OK by the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre, which clears ads for broadcast on television, on the grounds that the claim was misleading.

Oatso Simple was launched in 1998 and has had a steady presence on television since.

Radcliffe has had other commercial partnerships with brands, including Vittel, Flora, Norwich Union, Nike and Cadbury's controversial "Get Active" campaign, encouraging kids to take part in sport.

The news comes a week after an ad for Barclays, starring Sir Bobby Robson, was taken off the air. The bank said that the ad was always meant to end last weekend and that it did not have anything to do with Sir Bobby's sacking as Newcastle United manager.

While failure is not tolerated in the commercial world, bad behaviour outside the sporting arena is deemed more acceptable, with stars like David Beckham and Wayne Rooney hanging on to sponsorship deals even after tabloid claims about their behaviour.

The same is proving true in the US, where the sexual assault trial of Kobe Bryant has collapsed and sponsors Nike, Spalding and Coca-Cola remain with the star, although it is unclear for how much longer.

Puma, however, has put its foot down over the sponsorship of Jamaican dancehall stars who use homophobic lyrics in their music, threatening to end sponsorship if such lyrics are repeated.

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