Talk Talk is again the lead sponsor of ITV’s top rated show X Factor and, like its 2011 campaign, this year sees the telecoms brand offer the public a chance to submit their own footage and appear in the show’s ad break.
The core idea is that the show’s branded ad break bumpers feature performers dancing to music with TV screens instead of their heads. And it is in these TV screens that user-generated content (created by X Factor viewers themselves) is placed.
The campaign revolves around 15 bespoke music videos, shot by Legs, conceived to visually function in a way that consumers themselves can promote TalkTalk’s branded music channel. Each X Factor episode features one of these 15 tracks as the programme’s sponsor ad break idents.
These videos consist of a dancer moving to the music – each dancer’s head has been replaced by a TV screen. Viewers are then encouraged to shoot and upload videos of their own heads and faces singing along to the track.
The viewer-created, show-fan clips can be uploaded either through a Facebook app, via the dedicated campaign website, or through an iPhone or iPad app.
So for each week’s programme a new track and accompanying video is unlocked and X Factor fans are then invited to shoot their own consumer-created footage of them, their friends, or family singing along to the words of the track. These clips are then inserted into the TV screens on top of the shoulders of the dancers.
Once they have been created these personalised promos can be shared via social media platforms and mobile devices and can be submitted to the competition to appear as idents during X Factor itself. The viewers themselves vote on each video via a microsite and, each week, the most popular appear in the show’s ident ad breaks.
The tracks thus far include Westlife’s Flying Without Wings, Dizee Rascal’s Bonkers, Labrinth’s Earthquake, 1 Thing by Amerie or Higher by The Saturdays.
‘Key to the success of the project was MPC working together with The App Business to develop the technology to enable the compositing of videos to happen in-software, rather than post-production,’ says Ben Cyzer, MPC’s head of creative strategy.
Cyzer says that while preview videos are initially created in Flash which are comped quickly in real-time to be viewed by the user online immediately, over on the server side, rendered videos are created using a bespoke specially-created compositor with a much higher resolution. From this data TalkTalk has the ability to select videos to be remastered and titled to go on air, if selected.
“We knew that audiences would love the idea of seeing themselves comped into these pop promos,” adds Daniel Joseph of The App Business. “But the experience had to be lightning fast across mobile, social media and PC – and this meant working with the team at MPC to develop a ground breaking technology platform and a set of bespoke apps”.
In addition to promotion via most X Factor activity, this initiative is also marketed through Talk Talk’s campaign Facebook page and Twitter account (@TalkTalkXFactor).
Talk Talk shows consistency in its commitment to ensuring the show’s fans and its own customers become a genuine part of the show itself. The mechanic neatly matches the show’s content ensuring creative synergy between the property and the campaign.
It also helps drive viewing figures as those entering the competition wait to see themselves on the show. This tactic of making the ad break an event in itself is also something the broadcaster will appreciate as it sells X Factor ad space.
Other brand partners of this year’s show include Rank Group, which has a three-year deal with FME to create an X Factor bingo game and a series of mini games.
PepsiCo has also signed a sponsorship with The X Factor as it further solidified its relationship with the X factor franchise and with the music space itself. With brands Pepsi Max and Walkers Extra linking up with Syco and Freemantle Media on this year’s show – the ninth series of X Factor in the UK. Pepsi Max and Walkers Extra Crunchy will be joint-brand sponsors of the live final of the talent show in Manchester in December.
This deal is being supported by X Factor-themed in-store, digital and on-pack promotions, which will give fans the chance to win tickets to the show every hour.
Katharine Baker, UK marketing manager for Pepsi Max, says: ‘Following the success of Pepsi’s The X Factor USA partnership, we’re really excited about extending our relationship with Syco Entertainment, FME and The X Factor to the UK market to continue our strong music heritage.’
Ashley Mawhinney, brand manager at Walkers, said: “Walkers Extra Crunchy and Pepsi Max provide the perfect accompaniment to a Saturday night viewing and The X Factor is the ideal Saturday night show to enjoy with family or friends. The occasion is key to all three brands and we are proud to be bringing fun and entertaining experiences to our fans.”
PepsiCo’s tie-up with the series follows its sponsorship of the US version where its activation saw the show’s winner Melanie Amaro appear in Pepsi’s flagship Superbowl slots. Although a PepsiCo spokesperson has said the company does not plan to replicate its US show headline sponsorship in the UK.