Ad Factor: Thoughts on The Sun’s new ad aired during The X-Factor

This weekend saw the return of the X Factor on ITV. However, with the worst viewing figures for an opening show in six years with less than 10 million tuning in, I don’t think we could exactly call it ‘eagerly anticipated’. But despite this slump, it was still the most-watched show on Saturday, confirming it for the moment as a viable way of communicating with Britain’s consumers.

In the past, some of the advertising that has surrounded the X Factor has been more talked about than the show itself, with brands often taking over full ad breaks to showcase breaking creative. I am sure I don’t need to remind you of last year’s YeoValley boyband commercial, or Marks and Spencer’s weekly edits based on who was eliminated from the show.

Saturday’s launch was a little disappointing on the ad front (although I am not implying that the showcase of ‘talent’ fared much better); the only activity which differed to regular programming was executed by The Sun, who ran a 90 second ad in the third break. As part of their ‘Get Involved’ campaign, the ad was designed to showcase ‘everything that is brilliant about The Sun’, crammed into one advert to reflect the ‘volume of people and issues that The Sun cares about’. The campaign is the first work to come from Team News, the group of WPP agencies led by Grey London that picked up the business in April this year.

If I am honest, I barely noticed the advert until I remembered I was writing a blog post on any ‘interesting’ X Factor ads, and this was as close as I could get. And I hardly think this is the reaction The Sun were hoping for. The advert is part of a series of shorter ads, one of which has been running since Wednesday focusing on football but using an identical format, impeding much of the impact this 90 second execution may have held. The Sun also ran promoted tweets after the ad had aired, reflecting to me that the ad was too dull to drum up any organic conversation, both online and offline.

While I am not implying that this is the best we will see during X Factor’s seemingly endless span of shows across the end of the year, it could be suggested that this is a sign that brands are conscious of the show’s waning audience. However, I am hopeful that we are just going to have to endure numerous weeks of deluded tone-deaf Brits to be rewarded with 120 seconds of creative mastery.

Posted by Becci Dive, Media Assistant; @thatbecci

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