Fox, NBC and Pepsi make strange bedfellows


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As part of the prize for coming out on top on Fox’s ‘The X Factor,’ the winner of the singing competition will get to appear in a commercial during the Super Bowl.

But the commercial won’t promote the show bringing the winner fame; instead, it will be a plug for Pepsi, the sponsor of ‘The X Factor’ and a big advertiser on the Super Bowl.


With the next Super Bowl airing on NBC, there is a lot of sensitivity around a commercial that could potentially be seen as promoting a show on a rival network. An NBC insider stressed that the commercial featuring the winner cannot have any ‘X Factor’ branding in it.

That means it is unlikely that anyone from the ‘X Factor,’ including judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul, could appear in the ad. The logo from the show would also be a no-no in the Super Bowl spot.

NBC and the NFL will have final say over Super Bowl ads. Usually, the NFL only weighs in on Super Bowl spots if its logo or brand is used in any way. In this case though, the league will take a look, since it involves two of its NFL partners.

When Kelly Clarkson appeared in a Super Bowl spot for Ford, there was also no mention of ‘American Idol,’ just her in a hot car. But at the time, ‘Idol’ was the only musical talent show on the air and everyone knew who she was. Now there are a slew of these shows, and winners are often quickly forgotten.

In other words, will ‘The X Factor’ winner be big enough to pull off a Pepsi spot without any mention of the show in the ad? Fox seems to think that won’t be a problem if Cowell and Co. deliver the ratings the network is expecting.

NBC is getting something out of the deal. When Fox mentions that the winner of ‘The X Factor’ gets to be in a Super Bowl commercial, it will also say that the game is airing on NBC.



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-- Joe Flint