Brands Line Up To Promote 'American Idol'

Six companies, Nestle and Dreyer's among them, have signed up to promote "American Idol," turning it into a year-round property.

Nestle will become the official candy of "Idol," with more than 70 million candy bars featuring "Idol" branding and the chance to win a trip for two to Hollywood and tickets to both the 2007 "Idol" performance finale and results show.

Dreyer's will become the show's official ice cream sponsor and will create new flavors for the promotion: Drumstick Diva, Rock 'n' Rolo and Hollywood Cheesecake. Neither company will be airing ads on the Fox hit show.

" 'American Idol' has captivated the nation and become a phenomenon by bringing families together through amazing musical performances," said Tricia Bowles, spokesperson for Nestle Confections & Snacks, in a statement. "Nestle is thrilled to add to the fun and excitement by providing access to tickets for one of the hottest shows of the year."

Keith Hindle, executive vice president of Fremantle Licensing North America, whose parent Fremantle Media and 19 Entertainment produce "Idol," told the Hollywood Reporter the off-air promotions offer brands a cheaper proposition to tie their equity to "Idol."



"We're extending the interaction people can have during the show and off-air around the show," said Hindle. "We're trying to extend the life of the brand so it becomes a year-round property. The brand has matured to a level where we can bring on national sponsors that are not integrated into the show itself but associate with the show in marketing and promotions during the year off-air."

"American Idol" returns for a sixth season on Jan. 16 with Coca-Cola, Ford and Cingular Wireless as its three key integration partners again, but this season producers have allowed for increased viewer interaction through "Idol's" brand sponsors.

The other four promotional partners will be announced in the next few months.

Coca-Cola, Ford and Cingular will be integrated into "Idol" in similar ways to previous years, but this season they are trying to build upon viewers' interest in interacting with the show. At, consumers can submit questions for the host to ask contenders and win prizes. Fans also can submit designs for the judges' Coca-Cola cups on the show.

Cingular will make video clips of performances available to customers shortly after the show. Again, customers will be able to text their votes, participate in chats, test their knowledge of "Idol" trivia and download "Idol" tones.

Ford will cast viewers who win competition in its Ford music videos and will look at distributing them in new ways such as through gaming and cell phones. Ford logos also will be visible at "Idol" auditions for the first time this season.

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