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Channel 4 nets £1m as it signs up Appletiser to sponsor Friends

LONDON - Channel 4 has signed Appletiser to be the sole sponsor of all 'Friends' repeats throughout 2005 in a deal worth £1m.

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The deal includes more than 238 episodes of 'Friends' to be broadcast on Channel 4 and sister channel E4 and E4+1.

It marks the first broadcast sponsorship deal for the sparkling apple soft drink, which is owned by brewing giant SAB Miller but bottled and distributed by Coca-Cola Enterprises in the UK.

The break bumpers for the series were developed and produced by Channel's 4 creative arm 4Creative and have been designed to reflect Appletiser's "sociability and upbeat image".

Caroline Bonpain, brand manager of Appletiser, said: "We are thrilled to be associated with such a well-loved programme. The Appletiser promise is 100% pure pleasure, making 'Friends' a perfect fit for the brand."

The deal was inked by Sharon Moore, sponsorship manager at Channel 4, and Appletiser's media agency, Walker Media.

Australian wine maker Jacobs Creek sponsored debut episodes of 'Friends' from 2002 to the final episode in 2004, in a deal orginally worth £850,000.

Previous 'Friends' sponsors have included Nescafe and Wella. 

The brand appointed Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest to handle its global relaunch from Appletise to Appletiser in 2003.

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