Around 20m people tuned in to watch this weekend’s X Factor finals – but it’s not just Simon Cowell cashing in on the phenomenon.
Games publishers have been riding 2010’s wave of X-hype, with every episode this year featuring more games ads than ever.
For Ubisoft, the show has proven to be a perfect fit for brands like Just Dance and Michael Jackson: The Experience. X Factor ads helped propel Michael Jackson up the charts this week – the game rose from from 32nd to sixth in just its second week on the market.
“X Factor has been an integral part of our recent marketing campaigns,” said Rachael Grant, the publisher’s brand manager for the two titles.
“In terms of our target audience it is absolutely essential appointment-to-view programming, and ensures that we reach a critical mass of awareness early on in our campaigns.”
Grant added: “Not only that, but given the entertainment value and ‘five minutes of fame’ nature of the programme this genre of dance games are spot on in style.
“We have experienced great success and instant uplift in sales post advertising and will continue to support this kind of programming in our campaigns when relevant.”
Nintendo, too, has tapped into X-mania, by advertising during the show and recruiting its stars for ads in commercial breaks.
UK marketing director Dawn Paine said the show is one of the last remaining universal TV properties – making it ideal for increasingly mass market video games.
“What’s become evident is that for many years we have talked about fragmentation in the media landscape, so everyone bought here, there and everywhere because consumers are everywhere,” said Paine. “X Factor’s one of those rare pieces of programming that everyone sits in for on a Saturday night – it has been doing it for years, but has hit a new level this year.
“That creates a huge opportunity to reach an audience of over 17m. What’s important for us is that there are lots of families enjoying it.”
Nintendo’s celebrity campaign this year includes X Factor stars Alexandra Burke, Olly Murs, JLS and Jedward.
“It’s a double whammy. We’ve created an extra level of surprise and we precisely place our spots. We knew JLS were performing before the break with our JLS ad.
“What’s also happening is that it’s creating social chatter – X Factor has multitasking viewers, where the younger female audience are enjoying the JLS ad, then talking about the band and our product online. It plays an interesting role in our media planning.”
Sony has also seen an uplift in sales with its Move ads during X Factor.
“The show is a great fit with our target audience and this association with a cultural phenomenon gives us a consistently big audience in one hit,” said Sony’s UK marketing manager Adam Boita.