London, Mar 2 (ANI): Fictional children's book character Paddington Bear is said to have been signed up to help boost sales of marmalade in the UK.
The bear, who is probably the most famous marmalade lover in the world, has been signed up by the owners of Robertson's Golden Shred marmalade for a new campaign.
They hope the association will last for decades - and help reverse the slowly declining fortune of marmalade sales.
While the British are by far the biggest consumers of the bitter orange spread in the world, spending 55 million pounds a year on it, sales are in steady decline.
Overall sales fell by three per cent last year, and producers are worried that the preserve is becoming less and less popular with young people.
That has prompted Premier Foods, the owner of Robertson's Golden Shred, to enlist Paddington's help, with a payment to Bond, 84.
David Atkinson, spreads manager at Premier Foods, said the opportunity had finally come to get the bear on board.
Eight years ago they ditched the famous Golly mascot, saying it no longer connected with shoppers. They denied it was because many felt the image had racist undertones.
For a time they tried images of Roald Dahl characters but Atkinson told The Independent that these "didn't really get traction" with customers.
They examined signing up Paddington Bear 18 months ago, he said, but at the time the bear was busy with a tie-up with Marmite.
"When you have got someone as well known as Paddington, the most famous marmalade lover in the world, why would you want to take him off again?" the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
Bond's daughter, Karen Jankel, who helps to manage the bear's business affairs alongside entertainment company Chorion, admitted it was "extraordinary" that Paddington had not been signed up by a marmalade company before.
Her father created the character after spotting a teddy bear in a shop near Paddington station on Christmas Eve 1956. He published his first story in 1958.
Jankel thought Paddington would appeal across the generations.
"He's very much a family bear," she stated. (ANI)