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Ford and JWT embrace Kuga karaoke for X Factor sponsorship

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Sponsorship isn't just about logos on hoardings any more. It's all about 'activation' and 'integration'. And, with the X Factor hitting TV3's screens this year, broadcast sponsor Ford and its agency JWT have already got in on the act with The Passengers, a campaign that aims to find "traffic light tunesters and side-street singers" to feature on a remix of Che Fu's 'Fade Away'. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3WxLucHJHY

Like the Toyota Talent Tour for NZ's Got Talent, which followed the crew to audition spots around the country, this campaign, which features Joe Lonie from Flying Fish behind the controls, is also going on a musical journey. But the Ford Kuga, a car that's "in tune with New Zealand", has been equipped with recording equipment and all the best bits will be engineered into a new take on the song that is "in tune with today". There will also be a music video. 

In the world of car sales, getting bums on seats is important. But is getting mostly young bums on seats important? As the Ad Contrarian points out, many auto manufacturers—including Mercedes Benz, which is teasing out its Superbowl ad, and also, it seems, Audi, which released its 'Prom' Superbowl ad online—want to connect with the youth. But, when you look at the numbers, that doesn't make much sense.  

In the US: 

  • People 18-24 bought 1% of all new cars in 2011
  • People 24-35 bought 10% of all new cars in 2011 -- down 1/3 from 2007
  • People 45-74 bought 62% of all new cars in 2011
  • People 65-74 bought 30% more new cars than people 25-34
  • The average age of a new car buyer has risen 3 years in the last 4 years
  • Someone over 45 is twice as likely to buy a new car as someone under 45
  • Between now and 2030, the 50+ age segment will grow at 3 times the rate of the 18-49 segment

JWT's managing director Simon Lendrum says that's a fair point to make, but he reckons X Factor "will be a very broad church". 

"Voters might be younger, but viewers, supporters and family will be New Zealand at large." 

While discovering talent is obviously the main driver of the show (and the main focus of this campaign), finding deluded souls to ridicule is something of a fringe benefit. And a quick look at The Passengers YouTube channel shows there's probably more from the latter. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVLl5WLwx-U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADvx_WM_1Zg

And, in a rare example of meta-sponsorship, a few of the All Blacks, which Ford also sponsors, have also climbed in for a sing. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_psLDYeey0

Along with Ford, MediaWorks has also signed up McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Samsung as programme partners. And the next two judges have also been announced, with Melanie Blatt of UK multi-platinum selling group All Saints and Kiwi singer-songwriter Ruby Frost completing the line-up alongside Daniel Bedingfield and Stan Walker.

Blatt co-founded All Saints in 1993, which quickly became one of the most successful British pop groups of the 1990s, with nine top ten singles including global hits ‘Never Ever’, ‘I Know Where It’s At’ and ‘Pure Shores,’ the theme from Leonardo Di Caprio film The Beach. All Saints' album sales have eclipsed ten million globally, and the group’s music industry achievements include multiple Brit Awards and MTV Europe Music Awards.

Frost captured the attention of the local music industry, and a recording contract in 2009, winning the inaugural MTV talent competition 42Unheard. In 2010, she won the Grand Prize in the pop category of prestigious international John Lennon Songwriting Contest, with her hit song ‘Hazy.’ In the same year, she performed at Hollywood venue, TheViper Room, two CMJ showcases in the United States, and at Big Sound festival in Brisbane. Her current single ' Young' is on rotation on New Zealand radio. 

"Between them Mel and Daniel have sold over 14 million albums worldwide. Stan and Ruby have singles rotating on radio right now, meaning we have a panel that knows how the music industry works, and what it takes to achieve chart success," says co-executive producer Andrew Szusterman. "For New Zealand to have mentors of this calibre means we are on track to deliver a vibrant and fresh recording artist for the music industry." 

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