PepsiCo replaces Coke at Madison Square Garden, ending 100-year run
- PepsiCo will replace Coca-Cola as the official non-alcoholic beverage and salty snack partner for New York City’s Madison Square Garden and its properties, including the Hulu Theater at MSG, Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre, as well as the Forum in Inglewood, California, the Chicago Theatre and certain TAO Group entertainment dining and nightlife venues, according to a news release.
- Lead brands Pepsi and Mountain Dew will "create high-profile consumer activations and once-in-a-lifetime sports, music and entertainment experiences," including integrations with the New York Knicks, New York Rangers and the "Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes." PepsiCo brands will also be featured on MSG Networks' live coverage of Knicks and Rangers games and other content. The company's exclusive marketing rights to MSG properties will include mobile, TV and digital assets, in-venue signage, as well as the right to create retail promotional opportunities at external points of sale.
- Pepsi will also sponsor the iHeartRadio Z100 Jingle Ball at The Garden, which will feature artist Bebe Rexha, and other iHeartRadio events. Britney Spears performed this week as part of her national Pepsi-sponsored tour. Dierks Bentley, who starred in a recent Pepsi campaign, will hold the first performance under the partnership on September 8.
PepsiCo replacing Coke at Madison Square Garden is significant, as the venue had a partnership with Coca-Cola for more than 100 years. PepsiCo announced in April that it was increasing its marketing spend to better compete with its chief rival Coke, which some analysts have said could re-ignite the soda wars of years past, when the brands went after each other in their marketing. MSG switching to Pepsi could be more evidence of this. Earlier this year, PepsiCo unveiled its “Generations” campaign to support its full brand portfolio. The company said the campaign was producing positive results, including higher brand and advertising recall and regard.
In 2010, MSG expanded Coke’s presence across its platforms, according to Billboard. MSG teaming up with PepsiCo "brings two iconic New York companies together," Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo chairman and CEO said in a statement. It also allows MSG to leverage PepsiCo’s strong relationships with iconic celebrities that the beverage brand has been featuring its latest marketing efforts, and could lead to the type of experiences that drive purchases, especially among millennial women.
As part of "Generations," PepsiCo has played up its brand history in the music scene. In May, the company released limited-edition cans featuring music stars Michael Jackson, Ray Charles and Britney Spears, who had starred in past Pepsi campaigns. The campaign also featured several music experiences and activations, including a concert with Live Nation and several ticket giveaways to concerts and music festivals. This summer, Pepsi extended its music focus with “This Is the Pepsi,” featuring country star Dierks Bentley and highlighting the brand's merchandise.