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Pepsi Previews New Spots for 'X Factor'

Much-Anticipated Tie-up Brings Brand Back to Music Roots With Commercial Featuring Clips of Michael Jackson, Ray Charles and More

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Advertising Age Player

"X Factor" debuts tonight and along with it, so do two new Pepsi spots. And some of the stars in it may surprise you.

The soda giant's much-anticipated tie-up with Simon Cowell's new music competition includes a brand anthem, as well as a spot highlighting Pepsi's $60 million relationship with "X Factor." The two spots will only air during the show for now, though there's a possibility they could be aired more broadly later this year. Both commercials include the tagline "Where there's Pepsi, there's music," running alongside its main themeline, "Refresh Everything."

The brand spot is a greatest-hits list of sorts, featuring cuts of Pepsi ads relating to music. Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Mariah Carey, Kanye West and Britney Spears all make appearances before the ad asks, "Who's Next?"

Pepsi has said it will feature the winner or winners of Fox's X Factor on next year's Super Bowl, which is broadcast by NBC.

The other spot airing during the premier features Kevin McHale, who plays the wheelchair-bound Artie Abrams on "Glee." Mr. Cooper said the brand selected him out of several celebrities because of his genuine affinity for the brand. "He was effusive about it," Mr. Cooper said. "It wasn't a one-word answer, 'Pepsi is cool.' It's something he's always wanted to do, be in a Pepsi commercial."

In the commercial, Mr. McHale tells viewers, "With Pepsi you'll experience the show in ways you have never imagined. ... So, get ready to be part of music history."

As for what exactly that means, Mr. Cooper prefers to hold his cards close to his vest. He did say that Pepsi will be focused on second-screen activity, as well as aggregating conversations and interacting with viewers. He said the brand's Facebook page and a new, dedicated site will be instrumental in that effort.

Mr. Cooper added that viewers should expect out-of -the-box marketing integrations. "We're making an effort to move beyond the traditional sponsorship and think about how the Pepsi brand can add to the viewer experience," he said.

Asked to elaborate, Mr. Copper offered a hint, but declined to get too specific. "We've got a deal where there are a certain number of units for commercial spots," he said. "We agreed .. .let's forget the units and think about what kind of communication we want to generate with consumers. You'll see, some of the units won't be the standard 90-second or two-minute pod. They'll look different."

TBWA/Chiat/Day is Pepsi's creative agency and handled the brand spot, though Content Collective and Ghost Robot partnered on the spot featuring Mr. McHale.

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