Pepsi sponsors X Factor, announcement takes shots at American Idol

Pepsi has signed on as the official beverage sponsor of Fox and Simon Cowell’s forthcoming The X Factor, and the Fox press release includes not-so-subtle digs at Coca-Cola sponsored American Idol, which also airs on Fox.

One of those even comes from Fox chair Peter Rice, who said, “We are thrilled to welcome a beloved, innovative brand like Pepsi to The X Factor family.” (So what kind of brand is Coca-Cola? Not fun or innovative?) He also said, “Throughout its history, Pepsi has been known for being unique, fun and refreshing — and that is exactly the type of talent that The X Factor celebrates.” (And what kind of talent does your other talent show celebrate, Peter? Oh, that’s right, the lack of talent.)

Pepsi’s chief consumer engagement officer–yes, that’s Frank Cooper’s real title, as if consumers need to be engaged more than having their bloodstreams spiking with the effects of high fructose corn syrup–praises the new show in the press release, comparing it to American Idol without quite saying that. He said, “The X Factor’s move to the U.S. is important because it’s about real excellence in music; from the selection of the artists, the development of their performances and the music they ultimately produce.” That “real excellence in music” is pretty hilarious, versus, you know, not-quite-excellence in music.

Cooper also said, “When you combine those elements with Pepsi’s own deep heritage in music and focus on advancing popular music, you have a powerful partnership that benefits artists, fans and music culture.”

And yes, we’re still talking about soda (or pop, or Coke; whatever you call it in your part of the country). The announcement says the high fructose corn syrup “includes an extensive, multi-platform off-air marketing partnership; weekly in-show integrations and placements; and an immersive content experience online.”

Simon Cowell said, “I am absolutely delighted Pepsi is going to be our partner for THE X FACTOR in America. It feels like the perfect fit, and I love their ambition and excitement.” Of course, his quote would have said that regardless of who signed on, whether it was Coke, Pepsi, or Captain Sam’s Carbonated Horse Pee.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.