‘Idol’ Has Coke, Now ‘The X Factor’ Has Pepsi

The show's winner gets a Super Bowl spot

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On Fox's American Idol, the judges’ ever-present Coca-Cola cups have always been a familiar feature of the show—even managing to outlast most of those judges, including Simon Cowell. Now, Pepsi wants to become just as integral a part of Cowell’s new Fox show, The X Factor, as Coke is on Idol.

According to Frank Cooper, PepsiCo’s global consumer engagement officer, the company doesn’t just want to take a backseat role in The X Factor; it wants to become an active part of the show. “When people are sitting on the couch looking at the TV, you will see that the actual elements of the song they are singing have been filtered by, shaped by, and ultimately brought to you by Pepsi,” he told The New York Times.

The Pepsi logo will be visible on drinking cups, banner ads, and elsewhere throughout the show, like Coke is on Idol. But Pepsi is taking its $60 million sponsorship a step farther, offering The X Factor winner a starring role in a commercial to be aired during the Super Bowl. Other interactive features like the “Pepsi Challenge” will allow viewers to vote for which songs the contestants sing, and after the winner is chosen, they’ll even get to vote online to choose elements of the Super Bowl commercial.

Pepsi’s X Factor sponsorship signals the company’s return to the advertising arena after several years of laying low while PepsiCo promoted its “healthier” products. Pepsi recently debuted its first new television ad campaign in three years, and with the upcoming Super Bowl commercial, hopes that it can regain the buzzy pop-star-filled image that it was once famous for.

@adweekemma emma.bazilian@adweek.com Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.