Simon Cowell The X Factor Pepsi

'Social viewing' comes to the X Factor in America: Tweets on screen!


By Noel Young, Correspondent

October 18, 2011 | 3 min read

Viewers of the X Factor in America will this week get what sponsor Pepsi has been promising: the chance to experience the show in ways they "never imagined." The buzz phrase is "social viewing".

Simon Cowell

Using Pepsi Pulse and Pepsi Sound Off, the fans will be able to interact with each other and the show, says AdAge magazine.

Pepsi Pulse is a digital visualization of conversations about "X Factor." A series of checkmarks with the text "2 people agree with Simon" appear on screen, or a mass of hearts appears with the text "69 people love X Factor."

If you mouse over the hearts or checkmarks, tweets pop up. Andrea Harrison, director of PepsiCo Beverages digital engagement, said that it's meant to be a qualitative, not a quantitative view of consumer conversations.

Pepsi Sound Off, modelled on Twitter, is a place for fans to connect during the show and incorporates a gaming mechanism. Viewers can post comments in a stream, as well as organise streams by popular hashtags. Messages posted on Pepsi Sound Off can also be pushed to Twitter or Facebook.

Ms. Harrison told AdAge that Twitter or Facebook "were sometimes too broad of a place to have those nonstop conversations" about a show. "The idea was to create a fun place where people can come to have these conversations but also some gaming elements."

Consumers can earn bottle caps to use in their updates, while comments that receive 'likes' put consumers "in the spotlight." The most popular comments of the week will be featured in custom 15-second spots running during X Factor.

Co-viewing or social TV has been "gaining steam" as AdAge put it, with Entertainment Weekly launching a platform called Viewer last month. In this case, however, the advertiser is behind the platforms, rather than the network or show.

The American "X Factor," has posted solid ratings, although they have have failed to meet Simon Cowell's "inflated, initial expectations," said AdAge. "But those who are watching the show are sticking with it, and they're incredibly engaged -- just the type of audience that could embrace Pepsi's new platforms."

Pepsi is official sponsor of the US show. When the deal was announced in January, the sponsorship was said to include "an extensive multi-platform on and off-air marketing," The brand does not have the same involvement with the UK show, whose ratings have slipped this year.

Simon Cowell The X Factor Pepsi

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