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Packard Bell shows Panrix red card over footy ad

System builder on subs bench after Leeds United sponsorship row

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Panrix is alleging foul play after its advert was pulled from the Leeds United football ground to placate the club's sponsor, Packard Bell. The Leeds-based PC builder paid a five-figure sum for a full season's advertising board, bearing the words "Panrix Computer Systems". But the ad disappeared after less than two months, with Panrix only discovering the change when one of its staff attended a football match at the Elland Road ground. It came to light that Leeds United had shown the Panrix ad the red card for fear of offending its sponsor, retail PC Goliath Packard Bell. Phil Brining, commercial manager at Leeds United, said the Panrix advert had been a mistake which contravened the football club's own contract with Packard Bell. There was a veto on certain product adverts, and the football club, currently topping the Premier League, was not allowed to display ads from any computer "rival" to Packard Bell. "It [the Panrix advert] should never have been there in the first place," said Brining. "Occasionally there is an error, and one of our advertising agents takes an order from one of the companies they shouldn't." Yet a month after the removal of the offending add, Panrix had neither received a refund, nor seen the advert re-instated. It contacted the agency that originally sold Panrix the ad, MICG in London, and eventually received the following offer: the ad would go back up, but it would have a slight amendment. Simon Panesar, Panrix managing director, said: "We were told by the agency that Packard Bell would not approve the advert bearing the words 'computer systems'. So it could only go back up saying just Panrix." "The whole thing's a sham and we've referred the matter to our solicitor." "It's clear that Packard Bell is running shy of Panrix's presence," said Panesar. Packard Bell said it was unaware of the conflict until this week, when Brining informed them of the situation. A Packard Bell representative said: "There was no pressure put on to remove the Panrix advert. It was the decision of Leeds United." An MICG representative told The Register it was "making a mountain out of a molehill", which isn't the same as making money out of selling adverts that no one gets to see. MICG refused to give further details. ®

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