What Have Chevy, Pepsi, Sony and Verizon Gotten Out of 'X Factor'? A Look at Their Social-Media Lift

Bluefin Labs Study Commissioned by Advertising Age Reveals A Clear Brand Winner

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Britney Spears in Pepsi's 'X Factor' commercial
Britney Spears in Pepsi's 'X Factor' commercial

We've been monitoring the social-media footprint of Simon Cowell's U.S. edition of "The X Factor" throughout the fall. As the first season nears its finale (on Dec. 22 ), we decided to take a close look at the social-media buzz that 's rubbed off on the Fox singing competition's marquee sponsors: Chevy, Pepsi, Sony and Verizon. Ad Age worked with our editorial partner Bluefin Labs, a Cambridge-Mass.-based social-TV analytics company, to drill deep into the data it's been collecting on the show from the very start.

The result? All the major "X Factor" sponsors are getting evident lifts in social-media conversations about them on the days that "X Factor" airs.

Some notes about the chart below:

  • Bluefin measured the average daily volume of social-media conversations (primarily on Twitter and in public Facebook updates) surrounding each brand, then compared the volume of brand conversation on days that "The X Factor" aired vs. non-air days.
  • For the sake of simplicity, in the chart below we've focused on the one brand, Pepsi, that 's gotten the biggest social-media bump thanks to its association with "The X Factor." The blue bars denote days "The X Factor" aired. (Usually, "The X Factor" is on twice each week on back-to-back days; the pattern disruption in the middle of the chart is when the show's schedule shifted thanks to the World Series airing on FOX.)
  • "There's a clear pattern of Pepsi brand conversation lift on 'X Factor' days," Bluefin's Tom Thai tells me. "Taken in aggregate, there was a 40.6% lift on 'X Factor' days vs. non-'X Factor' days." By comparison, Verizon saw social-media lift of 17.6%; Chevy, 12.9%; and Sony, 9.0% on "X Factor" days.
  • Bluefin closely analyzed the social-media comments that mentioned each sponsor in the context of "The X Factor." For Pepsi, not counting the term "Pepsi" (and its variations) and the term "The X Factor" (and its variations), the No. 1 most used term was "commercial." As we've noted earlier in the season, Pepsi came up with some very well-received spots for "The X Factor" that underscore its decades-long association with pop music and iconic pop stars. (See my colleague Natalie Zmuda's report from September: "Pepsi Previews New Spots for 'X Factor.'") I took a look at the database of social-media comments collected by Bluefin for this study and the good will toward Pepsi's "X Factor" commercials really stands out. A couple examples: "@pepsi I have to say, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the commercial that airs when #XFUSA is on. :) I can't get enough of MJ!" (Michael Jackson). And "I watch the xfactor just to see @britneyspears dance in her pepsi commercial. #celebcrush for 12 years."
  • For Verizon, the top terms in social-media comments related to "The X Factor" (again, not counting the term "Verizon" itself and "The X Factor") were "vote," "phone" and "text," which makes sense since Verizon sponsors the phone voting for the show. For Sony, the top terms were "watching" and "TV," while the top terms for Chevy were "sponsor" and "girl." Girl? That would be the girl with the lovely singing voice in this Chevy commercial. Sample tweets: "Anyone ever find out who the girl is from the #Chevy commercial who sings Billionaire? Can I vote for her instead? #xfactor." And "The girl from the chevy commercial who's singing should be an #xfactor contestant. She's better than a lot of them #OhSnap."

Stay tuned to AdAge.com for more data from Bluefin Labs.

For more about Bluefin, visit their website.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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