Back in the black and white days, circa 1991, post the economic boom of the 80s and in the midst yet again of recession I began working as media buyer for a media buying agency called Initiative Media. I was buying TV airtime for Jif Mousse, on behalf of global giant, Unilever. Back in those black and white days TV buying was simple with only four channels - BBC1, BBC2, ITV and Channel 4 and a set daypart.
ITV dominated the spending and the big brands battled for key position amongst the limited offer. TV advertising is a crazy business where millions of pounds are traded against the reliability of around 300 people, at the BARB data (as it was known then) survey panel, pressing a button to indicate which channel they were watching and how often they left the room to go to the loo or make a cuppa.
In those black and white days of TV buying TV sponsorship was relatively new phenomenon as brands dabbled with sponsorship but strict ITC codes, mis-selling and often a failure to match the right advertiser with the right sponsorship opportunity meant it was slow to blossom.
In March 1996 TV sponsorship in Britain came of age and the big question was which advertiser would invest in the biggest sponsorship opportunity ever offered on terrestrial TV in the UK - Coronation Street, Granada's flagship show with audiences of up to 14 million.
It was Cadbury that stepped up to the plate - and found the £10 million needed to secure the prize for the biggest broadcast sponsorship in the UK.
Mick Desmond, its then chief executive, declared it as a harmony between "the integrity of the programme and the commercial expectations of the advertiser".
It became one of the longest-lasting and most successful commercial partnerships ever on British TV.
In November 2006 after a decade the sponsorship ended and Harveys, the furniture retailer, succeeded Cadbury as the Coronation Street sponsor in September 2007.
But now in July 2012 Coronation Street has landed Compare The Market as its new sponsor.
The ITV soap will partner with the price comparison site, reknowned for its viral marketing creation Aleksandr Orlov and the spoof website Compare The Meerkat, for the next three years, instead of Harveys furniture.
"We are delighted to be working with Compare The Market as a partner for Coronation Street," said Simon Daglish, Group Commercial Director of ITV.
"This is a long-term commitment from both parties around two of the most exciting and loved brands in the UK, which we believe will become the benchmark for partnerships going forward."
Paul Galligan, Managing Director of Compare The Market, said: "Coronation Street is one of Britain's most entertaining and best loved TV shows and so we are delighted to be partnering with such a prestigious programme.
"We will be working closely with ITV to ensure this is a model partnership, utilising both on and off-air opportunities to take our brands to customers in new and exciting ways."
In 2012 TV sponsorship is a booming business. According to Carat, the market was worth over £190m last year- up 8.5% on 2006. The growth will continue as sponsorship continues to be the hottest advertising property and the demand for opportunities soars.
This article is brought to you with a little help from Compare The Market but the opinions are my own.
Follow Clare Macnaughton on Twitter: www.twitter.com/amodmilitarymum