Only $10m for Pepsi to sponsor US X Factor? Hardly smacks of cola wars

Pepsi is reported to have ‘beaten’ Coca-Cola to be the official sponsor of the X Factor’s new US show on Fox, winning the epic battle with a bid of around $10m.

If this figure is at all accurate it hardly smacks of enthusiasm on the part of either drinks party, still less a rootin’ tootin’ outbreak of cola wars.

Coke pays an estimated $35m to sponsor another Simon Cowell vehicle American Idol (although he doesn’t own that one), also on Fox.

American Idol is more established of course, introducing former Mirror editor Piers morgan to a delighted American public. But its recent final drew an audience of 23 million, not that much more than the X Factor final did in the UK from a population about a sixth of the size.

So did Coke bid seriously for the new US X Factor? It doesn’t look like it. Maybe they were scared off by the rumoured appearance of troubled singer George Michael among the judges.

George has had his run-ins with the police on both sides of the Atlantic, on drugs charges and others. The notorious LAPD will be following his Range Rover every time he leaves the studio.

Coke has had one unfortunate celebrity-induced experience this year with footballer Wayne Rooney and his Coke Zero sponsorship. Maybe they’re steering clear of troublesome Brits.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.