TalkTalk’s new X Factor idents

Once again, the British public will have the chance to submit footage of themselves to potentially appear X Factor’s ad break TalkTalk indents – thanks to new work created collaboratively by agency CHI, directing duo Legs, MPC, and The App Business…

Yet again, this year’s X Factor TV talent show is being sponsored by TalkTalk and, once again, the British public will have the chance to submit footage of themselves to potentially appear in the show’s ad break indents – thanks to new work created collaboratively by agency CHI, directing duo Legs, MPC, and The App Business

The basic idea from CHI creative duo Neil and Jay for the work, designed to launch TalkTalk TV, is centred around 15 bespoke music videos, all shot by Legs, conceived to visually function as if to promote a TalkTalk branded music channel.

Each of the music promo style films feature dancers and singers with TV screens as heads. These screens can then be filled with content created and submitted by viewers, either using a nifty Facebook app, a dedicated website (screen grab below), or a special (yet to be launched) iPhone and iPad app.

Each week a new track will be unlocked – although at the moment viewers can choose to submit home-taken footage to one of five tracks – Westlife’s Flying Without Wings, Dizee Rascal’s Bonkers, Labrinth’s Earthquake, 1 Thing by Amerie or Higher by The Saturdays.

The idea is that the viewer films their face (preferably mouthing the lyrics to their chosen song) which then appears on the TV on the shoulders of the dancers in their choice of video accompanying their choice of track. Once created, the personalised promos can then be shared via social media platforms such as Facebook and also submitted to potentially appear as idents during X Factor.

Here’s a montage of example films…

To create the work, Ben Cyzer, MPC’s head of creative strategy explains that it was important to get to work on the user experience up-front and from the beginning of the project: “Key to the success of the project was MPC working together with The App Business to develop the technology to enable the compositing of videos to happen in-software, rather than post-production.”

Cyzer goes on to explain that while preview videos are initially created in Flash which are comped quickly in real-time to be viewed by the user online immediately, over on the “server side”, rendered videos are created using a bespoke specially-created compositor with a much higher resolution. From this data TalkTalk has the ability to select videos to be remastered and titled to go on air, if selected.

“We knew that audiences would love the idea of seeing themselves comped into these pop promos,” adds Daniel Joseph of The App Business. “But the experience had to be lightning fast across mobile, social media and PC – and this meant working with the team at MPC to develop a ground breaking technology platform and a set of bespoke apps.”

MPC showed us some ‘making of’ shots with us and we had to share one as they show the dancers on set actually wearing TV screens on their heads. Love the eye-holes:

To have a go at making and sharing a film, visit


Agency CHI & Partners
Creative team Neil Clarke, Jay Phillips, Jon Burley (ECD)
TV producer Nicola Ridley
Digital producer Sarah Allen
Production company FRIEND
Director Legs
DoP Denzil Armour-Brown
Producer Tom Berendsen
Editor Ross Hallard, Trim
VFX supervisor Toby Aldridge, Tom Harding, MPC
VFX producer Sophie Gunn, MPC
Grade George Kyriacou, MPC
VFX digital director Chris Vincze, MPC
Online editors Brett Kelsey, Robert Smith, Carbon
Digital production / digital strategy / app engineering / platform engineering / interaction design The App Business

  • No the greatest of ideas but I’m sure will work the target audience…

  • Samuel Michael


  • Dan

    This is a neat idea and very tricky technically to pull off. My Wife, Sophie Gunn Produced this at MPC and has been flat out for months figuring out the various technical hurdles that were thrown up along the way. I know I’m biased as our five year old son also appeared as one of the dancers for the first week to kick things off, he loved getting involved with it. Hope it works out for them all.

  • Barty

    Cheese on post! Not gonna wast my good kechup!! Snazzy pants really, where can I pitch my idea for a ham umbrella!!

  • Lisa

    I’ve seen a 7 year old wrestle for the laptop with two 33 year olds to record their own videos and they loved every minute.

    Well done.

  • d

    I’m surprised anyone cares to take credit for these adverts.

  • Arafa

    What’s the app for talktalk X factor tv heads on iPhone? Because I’ve tried typing that in onto my iPhone app and it said’ no search was found’