How PepsiCo’s Super Bowl Ad Strategy Is Going Beyond The Big Game

By Jeff Beer

As one of the world’s biggest producers of munchies and soda, it makes perfect sense for PepsiCo to have a big part of any Super Bowl. This year, the Pepsi and Frito-Lay parent company, is once again sponsoring the halftime show, in addition to having ads for Pepsi, Mtn Dew, and Doritos–and, of course, the winning coach will eventually be soaked in Gatorade.


But beyond the no-brainer connection between these brands and the Super Bowl, a marketer has to figure out the best way to utilize the opportunity. For PepsiCo North America Beverages CMO Greg Lyons, and Frito-Lay North America CMO Jennifer Saenz, that means extending the reach of their Super Bowl campaigns far beyond game time, using in-store merchandising and new product launches to maximize the investment.

“Historically, people would not release their ads in advance, so there wasn’t the build up and conversation leading up to the game. Now that’s a really critical element for any brand,” says Saenz. “For us, with Mtn Dew and Doritos, it was important to make sure there was a before, during, and after storyline we were taking consumers on. The more you can drive conversation, the more people are going to want to engage with the content and the brand.”

This is the year the company has teamed two of its brands together in one campaign, partnering Doritos and Mtn Dew in a spot starring Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage rap battling to decide the supremacy of two new products.

“It’s around two of our biggest product launches this year, with Doritos Blaze and Mtn Dew Ice, and a perfect platform for people to gain awareness for these new products,” says Lyons, emphasizing the significance of the campaign IRL. “The miss for us would be if we were just part of the Super Bowl conversation with our brands but we didn’t tie it into in-store merchandising.”
For giant national and global brands, the Super Bowl can become a status quo investment. There’s a common notion that as a behemoth brand, you’re expected to be there, but you’re not expected to actually grow market share or brand awareness with it. But Lyons and Saenz say that makes it an ideal time to roll out new products, and not just for the attention the Super Bowl provides.
“The way the marketplace works, in terms of resetting stores and putting products on shelves which happens once a year, it’s a natural fit with the Super Bowl timing,” says Saenz. “It’s a boring explanation, but it works.”




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