Pepsi seeks to help Black-owned restaurants with ‘Dig In’ campaign

Dive Brief:

  • Pepsi launched a multichannel campaign to urge support for Black-owned restaurants and help them generate more than $100 million in sales over the next five years. The soft drink brand’s “Dig In” effort not only highlights several Black-owned eateries in a new national TV spot, but also provides business services, training and mentorship to help select restaurants grow, according to a company announcement.
  • The beverage giant introduced “Dig In” with a 30-second spot on the NFL Network on Dec. 26, and plans to run it though Feb. 8 on TV and the NFL’s website. The brand also created dedicated @PepsiDigIn accounts on Facebook and Instagram for people to learn more about how they can help support Black-owned restaurants nationwide.
  • As part of the effort, Pepsi plans to expand its Black Restaurants Deliver program, which provides eight weeks of consulting to help restaurants boost their online ordering and delivery services. After piloting the program in Washington, D.C., Pepsi aims to help 400 restaurants in more than 40 communities close “the digital divide” in the next five years.

Dive Insight:

Pepsi’s latest campaign aims to help Black-owned restaurants not only survive the current economic turmoil from the coronavirus pandemic, but also thrive in the longer term by providing them access to its managerial know-how. Parent company PepsiCo is a marketing juggernaut with hundreds of brands and global distribution that saw about $70 billion in yearly revenue last year, based on its most recent earnings report. Its outreach efforts can help small and midsize business (SMB) owners learn more about improving their operations and boosting revenue, while also fostering good will toward PepsiCo brands among those enterprises and loyal customers.

Pepsi’s effort comes as issues of economic inequality and social justice have grown significantly more pronounced since May, when the killing of George Floyd during an arrest spurred a global movement to end racism and police violence. Meanwhile, the pandemic, lockdowns and recession disproportionately harmed many smaller businesses including Black-owned restaurants. More than half (61%) of the 32,109 restaurants that closed after the pandemic were shut down permanently, according to data compiled by review site Yelp, though its data doesn’t show how many of those eateries were Black-owned. A separate study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found a link between the health crisis and its negative effects on Black-owned businesses.

The “Dig In” campaign follows Pepsi’s other recent efforts to help small businesses. Last month, the brand launched a regional marketing campaign to help New York City’s bodegas, the owner-operated convenience stores that are a business cornerstone for many communities. As part of the “The Bodega Giveback,” Pepsi collaborated with Desus Nice and The Kid Mero, hosts of the popular Bodega Boys podcast and Showtime’s “Desus & Mero,” to deliver financial relief to store owners and their customers. The campaign is another sign of parent company PepsiCo’s efforts to make empathy a key theme in its brand messaging amid the uncertainties of the pandemic.

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