After serving as the flagship sponsor of Fox’s The X Factor for its first two seasons—an agreement that included extensive integrations and interactive elements—Pepsi has passed on a third go-around with the show.
Also stepping away from the struggling musical-competition program is General Motors’ Chevrolet marque.
When Pepsi first signed on as The X Factor’s primary sponsor in March 2011, it ponied up some $60 million for the opportunity. At the time, Simon Cowell’s new show was being touted as the next American Idol, a comparison that would prove to be unfounded. After bowing Sept. 21, 2011, to 12.5 million viewers and a 4.4 rating in the 18-49 demo, Factor failed to build on those results.
If the inaugural season didn’t live up to the hype (that same year, precursor Idol averaged 23.1 million viewers and a 7.3 in the dollar demo, roughly double Factor’s deliveries), Season 2 really never caught fire. Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Factor’s second year averaged just 8.28 million viewers and a 2.9 among the under-50 crowd despite adding of Britney Spears and Demi Lovato.
For all that, Factor was still one of last season’s top-20 programs. When seven days of time-shifted viewing are brought into consideration, the show averaged a respectable 3.5 in the demo.
Happily for Fox, two other heavies have stepped in to fill the void left behind by the soft drink and automotive giants. On Friday, the network announced that it had signed Honda and Procter & Gamble as season-long backers of Factor.
Honda will leverage its sponsorship as a means to kick-start the launch of its 2014 Odyssey minivan. As the official auto sponsor of Factor, Honda’s Odyssey will be integrated in three episodes of the show, which returns for its third season on Sept. 11 and 12.
Per terms of the deal with Fox, Honda also will sponsor Factor’s digital voting and Fan Rewards program.
“Families across the U.S. have a very personal relationship with their Hondas, and integrating our vehicles into one of America’s top-rated programs allows us to extend that connection to The Factor’s viewers and participants,” said Michael Accavitti, svp of auto operations at American Honda, by way of announcing the deal. “As a part of our season-long sponsorship, the redesigned 2014 Odyssey will be an integral part of the contestant experience, and our engagement with The X Factor community will extend beyond the show through a robust social media and online presence.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
For its part, P&G said that Factor presents “a natural fit for our collection of beauty brands.” TV’s leading advertiser will use its Factor partnership to promote its Cover Girl cosmetics line, Herbal Essences hair care and Secret deodorant/antiperspirant products.
When Factor returns with its first auditions episode, it will go head-to-head with the third installment of NBC’s much-hyped new game show, The Million Second Quiz and the 33rd of 36 episode of CBS’ Big Brother. (ABC and the CW are both in repeats.) The Thursday night show will face off with Quiz, Big Brother and a special CBS fall preview.