Pepsi turns ads into dating profiles to push new mango-flavored cola

Dive Brief:

  • PepsiCo is promoting its new mango-flavored cola with social media advertising that doubles as personal ads for singles seeking dates. The dating profiles are part of its bigger “Perfect Match” campaign touting the pairing of flavors in Pepsi Mango, the soft-drink brand’s first new permanent flavor in five years, per an announcement.
  • The personal ads, which are partly inspired by dating videos from the 1980s, will appear in April and provide a brief personality profile and contact information. Pepsi is running 15-second spots, which are set to the hit song “Take You Dancing” by singer Jason Derulo, for the new flavor that will run in English and Spanish on national TV and digital video channels.
  • As dating apps see a surge during pandemic-related lockdowns, Pepsi next month will expand the campaign with a series featuring dating reality-show stars, produced in collaboration with ViacomCBS and its Velocity in-house branded content studio. Pepsi Mango will be widely available nationwide on March 22 in regular and sugar-free varieties, per the announcement.

Dive Insight:

PepsiCo’s campaign for Pepsi Mango is the latest example of how the beverage marketer has been quickly shifting away from traditional media and toward digital and streaming deployments as consumers’ viewing habits have changed during the pandemic. Dating apps, for example, saw a surge in activity during the pandemic as homebound singles looked for ways to meet others. By turning some of its social media ads into “dating advertorials,” the soft-drink brand aims to engage younger consumers in the campaign and press the message that Pepsi and mango flavors make a good match.

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As part of the shift to digital, PepsiCo is focused more on leveraging the data it has to deliver messaging that addresses a problem or need, Kate Brady, PepsiCo’s head of media innovation and partnership development, said during an Advertising Week panel last fall.

PepsiCo’s recent marketing efforts have also included a performance marketing campaign to promote its Zero Sugar cola that leveraged data to customize more than 70 pieces of creative across TV, digital and radio. The company also sponsored a virtual hip-hop competition on video app Triller to promote Pepsi Wild Cherry, and collaborated with Panera Bread on a multichannel campaign that included a social media contest.

In addition, PepsiCo has expanded its branded content efforts to make its promotional efforts more effective as viewers either skip past commercial breaks or spend more time with streaming platforms that don’t carry ads. To promote its Pepsi Wild Cherry cola, PepsiCo and Fox Entertainment collaborated to create the first game show inspired by one of the beverage brand’s products. Hosted by actor Jason Biggs, “Cherries Wild” last month premiered on Fox and streaming services including Fox Now, Hulu and Tubi. The show was one of Fox’s most recent efforts to blend entertainment with branding following the development of reality-competition shows “Beat Shazam” and “Lego Masters.”

The company also has moved into beverage categories like seltzers and bottled waters aimed at health-minded consumers. As part of that effort, the company this month began marketing a new drink called Driftwell that has ingredients to aid with relaxation at bedtime. The “40 Jinx” campaign for Driftwell highlights activities that can sabotage people’s night-time rituals, and includes targeted digital ads to disrupt a viewer’s screen time.

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