Analysis by Greenlight has shown an increase in celebrity endorsements and the use of licensed music in advertisements broadcast during this year's "X Factor" finals in the U.K.
Twenty-nine percent of ads featured celebrity endorsements, up 45 percent from last year. Forty-one percent of ads featured licensed music, up 5 percent from last year. Overall, 58 percent of ads featured celebrity endorsement or licensed music, up 18 percent from last year's "X Factor" finale weekend. Global and U.K. brands alike, from L'Oréal, Kellogg's, Nintendo and Dior to M&S, Waitrose, John Lewis and Iceland, partnered with celebrities for X Factor ads during the critical Christmas shopping period. The report analyzes the use of celebrity endorsements and licensed music in X Factor ads in 2009 and 2010 as a barometer to identify trends in how brands are using celebrity talent and entertainment content in advertising campaigns.
L'Oréal and Marks & Spencer ads each featured an X Factor judge, Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue, respectively. Both brands took advantage of changes by the ASA to advertising regulations, which came into effect in September, allowing talent to appear in commercials shown during the show in which they appear, helping to make 2010 a huge year for celebrity endorsements.
"The X Factor, which has become the advertising event of the year in the U.K., is the ideal program to get an idea of the latest trends in TV advertising," says Dan Perlet, social media and communications director at Greenlight. "What the Greenlight ad gauge reveals is that more brands are recognizing the power of celebrity as a way to break through the clutter and connect with their target audience, and many are getting more creative and savvy in the way that they do so by finding authentic brand ambassadors and creating more extensive partnerships."
An average 30-second advertisement on "The X Factor" finale weekend was the most expensive available on U.K. television, with slots going for up to £250,000 ($395,000)—or £8,000 ($13,000) a second—reaping ITV a reported £25 million ($40 million). In terms of audience share, "The X Factor" enjoyed another record-breaking year, pulling in a peak of 19.4 million viewers during Sunday's live final.