- Pepsi has launched a new campaign, "Always Be Celebrating," to celebrate the NFL's 100th anniversary, according to a press release. Pepsi has been the official soft drink of the NFL for more than 17 seasons.
- The campaign includes national TV advertising, local market advertising, social media efforts, a collectible can, point-of-sale promotions and a Kickoff Party at New England's Gillette Stadium to celebrate last season's Super Bowl champs, the New England Patriots, and featuring country star Chris Lane. Pepsi will also sponsor the Super Bowl Halftime Show and will be featured in NBC's "Sunday Night Football."
- Pepsi will expand its partnership with United Way by donating $200 to each team's local United Way for every touchdown by that team, from the Kickoff Party to Thanksgiving. The brand is also supporting the NFL's "Huddle for 100" initiative for this 100th season, encouraging a million fans to contribute 100 minutes each to their communities.
Pepsi is going big to celebrate its alliance with pro football for the NFL's 100th season. This year's multi-pronged campaign follows Pepsi's commitment last year to boost its marketing spend, as it attempts to increase its market share against longtime competitor Coca-Cola.
The TV push, which includes ads, a renewed sponsorship of the Super Bowl Halftime Show and a featured position in "Sunday Night Football" — the top primetime TV program for eight years — comes as NFL ratings bounced back last season following two seasons of declines. However, changes driven by sports betting, politics, cord-cutting and liquor ads could continue to complicate the NFL advertising picture.
The limited edition commemorative cans salute the Patriots, who have won the Super Bowl six times. They are textured and shaped like a football, and will be available for fans to win at the Kickoff Party. Limited-edition cans and bottles are frequently used by beverage companies to boost consumer interest. Pepsi did just that last summer with its "Pepsi Generations" cans.
By rounding out the campaign with a charitable partnership with the United Way and support for the NFL's own charitable efforts, Pepsi looks to tap into purpose-driven marketing that can help brands grow. While cause-related marketing can come with its own risks in a highly fractious society, United Way's mission is broad in its appeal, which will likely mitigate any risks.
Last year, Pepsi undertook a similar multi-dimensional approach in its football-related marketing, with a multi-city Tailgate tour that featured music performances, games, opportunities to win prizes and meet-and-greets with NFL players and cheerleaders, as well as limited-edition packaging and TV spots. Previous seasons have seen Pepsi try a virtual reality experience that connected viewers with the soda brand's Super Bowl ads