The Cup Song Ends: Coca-Cola Calls Off 13-Year ‘American Idol’ Tie-In


Coca-Cola’s branding has been all over Fox’s American Idol for 13 seasons, from the massive cups visible on the judges’ table to the dizzying background videos when host Ryan Seacrest sits down to have a tête-à-tête with contestants. 

But Coke has finally decided to disengage from the once all-powerful FOX TV show, Variety reports. The show has been losing ratings in recent years and announced this week that the results segments would be completely eliminated; performances and results will now all be in one episode, reports.

Apparently, the audition portions are popular enough for the network to keep them around for two nights a week, so the next season will start off with two audition episodes followed by once-weekly showings after that.

All of it will now be without Coke, though the question remains how producers will handle the Coke-emblazoned cups that may have been in front of the judges last summer when they taped the auditions. (Digital product placement insertion, perhaps?)[more]

“After 13 years, we feel it is the right time for the Coca-Cola brand to venture into new spaces and pursue other opportunities to connect with teens and leverage music as a passion point,” Coke told Variety.

Coke isn’t the only sponsor to drop the mic; AT&T hung up on the show last January. AI’s third major sponsor, Ford, plans to stick around, but as it points out to Variety, the relationship there is more with FOX in general than American Idol specifically.

Kantar Media estimates that advertisers spent nearly $781.9 million on the show in 2012; this year, that commitment shrunk to $394.7 million. Coke’s spending on the show fell from $49.1 million to around $16.3 million. Despite the lower dollar amount, the Coke branding on the show seemed even more ubiquitous this past season.

One place Coke is putting its dollars—internationally—in 2015 is the Rugby World Cup, an event that the brand has been associated with for nearly two decades.

Coke just announced that it will be coming back for another year, reports, even bigger and better.

“Rugby World Cup 2015 looks set to be the biggest ever; we’re delighted to be a part of it to celebrate the excitement and passion the tournament will generate,” stated Paul Dwan, general manager of the Coca-Cola team for Rugby World Cup 2015.

“The game enjoys fantastic support and we hope that through our sponsorship we can bring rugby to an even wider audience next year.”

Note to FOX: Rugby Idol. Think about it.

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