The Pairing Factor

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Posted At: October 11, 2013 3:15 p.m.
by Aime O’Keefe

Television is adapting to the new digital media age. As competition reality TV’s popularity rages on, viewers are given a larger role in the determination of a winner. Contestants need to know how to communicate with viewers compassionately and sell their brand. Contestants have different approaches, but one couple on this season of Simon Cowell’s “X Factor” has integrated its network at University of Central Florida.

The premise of “X Factor” consists of each contestant getting to audition in front of the celebrity panel of judges and a crowd of thousands of people. If you’re good enough, you get to move on. And if you’re entertaining enough, you get to be on TV.

“X Factor” provides earned publicity opportunities for all sorts of organizations that contestants identify with. This earned media provides an opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship: Sierra Deaton, UCF advertising-public relations alumna, 2013, and her boyfriend Alex Kinsey can establish their identity to fans, while UCF can utilize an incidental moment in its spotlight at the same time.

Deaton and Kinsey’s performance has more than 3 million views since the audition a month ago. Following their rise to stardom, they created a shared Twitter account to communicate directly to their supporters. Deaton’s training in communication is apparent as she Twitter chatted with fans during the show’s episode on Thursday. She has continued to establish a social media platform for Kinsey and herself.

To utilize Web searches of the couple, UCF Nicholson School of Communication’s home page features an article about the two UCF students.

UCF faculty and administration are supporting the pair as they enter into the spotlight, hoping to capitalize on the potential media attention. After all, Deaton and Kinsey are (inadvertently) representing UCF, and anyone who Googles them can now easily end up at the Nicholson News website.

I serve as a perfect example of what UCF is trying to do: while searching for more information on the couple, I found Nicholson’s article and continued to explore the website. My continued search has lead me to consider UCF graduate programs and plan a campus visit.

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