Product Placement Hits High Gear on 'American Idol,' Broadcast's Top Series for Brand Mentions

Coca-Cola Tops Nielsen's Chart of Top Brands by Prime-time Integrations

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'Idol' judges
'Idol' judges Credit: Fox
The 10th season of Fox's "American Idol" hit high gear last month, both in competition and in product placement.

"Idol" viewers were treated to 208 in-show appearances by brands such as Coca-Cola, Ford and AT&T in March, up from 102 the month before, according to Nielsen research on the broadcast networks' new prime-time episodes. "Idol" was the largest venue for product placement in both months, according to Nielsen. Last month's second-place spot went to NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice," with 127 brand appearances.

The huge run-up in brand integrations on "Idol" from February to March, of course, partly just reflects the calendar: March had one more set of Wednesdays and Thursdays, when "Idol" usually runs, than February did. But the show format also works in a lot more brand appearances once it gets down to finalists, the live studio audience and viewer voting.

Coca-Cola, meanwhile, topped Nielsen's chart of the most-present brands in broadcast prime time, followed by AT&T, Chevrolet, Ford, Apple and others.

March 1 - March 31, 2011
Brand Category Total # Occurrences
Coca-Cola Soft Drinks 99
AT&T Telecommunications 76
Chevrolet Autos 45
Ford Autos 39
Apple Computer Systems 32
Everlast Apparel 32
Nike Apparel 32
Universal Entertainment 28
Microsoft Computer Systems 27
Toyota Autos 21
Vogue Magazine 21

March 1 - March 31, 2011
Program Network Total # Occurrences
American Idol Fox 208
The Celebrity Apprentice NBC 127
America's Next Top Model CW 88
The Biggest Loser NBC 88
The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business CBS 69
Shedding for the Wedding CW 40
Dancing With the Stars ABC 38
Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior CBS 31
Traffic Light Fox 25
Undercover Boss CBS 24
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