LONDON (AdAge.com) -- "The X Factor" is Britain's most popular TV show. Simon Cowell's talent contest regularly pulls in 10 million viewers, and media coverage of the contestants and the judges is relentless. But the aspiring stars face competition from the popular rapping dairy farmers and the boy band in an Ikea kitchen who star in the TV commercials aired during the show.
During the new season's live debut on Saturday, an ad for organic dairy brand Yeo Valley created more buzz on Twitter than "The X Factor" itself. Some tweets even claimed that the ads were better than the show.
Yeo Valley registered 9 million impressions on Twitter on Saturday night, while "Yeo Valley advert" was a trending topic for five hours, trending above "The X Factor" in popularity, according to Yeo Valley's agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London. A similar phenomenon happened on Sunday night, when a shorter version of the show ran.
The two-minute Yeo Valley spot aired for the first time during "The X Factor." Filmed at a real Yeo Valley farm in southwest England, the ad features four strikingly good-looking farmers and their cute cows rapping about sustainable farming. They come out with lines like, "Yeo Valley's approach is common sense, harmony in nature takes precedence" and "We make this easy 'cos we're proper modern with our farming, believe me."
Zoe Lazarus, director of Lowe Counsel, said, "The Yeo Valley spot works because to do a hip-hop spoof you need to be credible, and farming -- while a long way from the "street" -- has an authenticity that people have respect for. Farm life has become more respected, with urban trendsetters appropriating country fashion like wellies, caps and waxed jackets."
Among the tweets was one from top BBC radio DJ Zane Lowe, who said, "Must be intimidating for the X Factor finalists to have to compete with the infinitely better Yeo Valley crew each week."
There's already a Facebook campaign to make the Yeo Valley crew'd tune the No.1 single at Christmas -- a much sought-after accolade in the U.K. that traditionally goes to the "X Factor" winner (although last year a subversive Facebook campaign kept "X Factor" off the top of the chart).
The program's influence on popular culture seems to be extending to the style of commercials being made -- Ikea also debuted a musical spot during the first live show, which was the other big talking point on Twitter that night, with around 500,000 impressions.
The ad, by Mother, features a reworking of a big 80s synth-pop tune, "You'll always find me in the kitchen at parties," originally recorded by Jona Lewie. In Ikea's ad, two singing young men from pop group Man Like Me attend four different parties -- hosted by Mr. Lewie -- in four very different Ikea kitchens.