Pepsi Launches Food-Themed Ad Campaign

‘Joy of Pepsi’ Gives Way to ‘Pepsi. It’s the Cola’

By Hillary Chura

NEW YORK ( — PepsiCo’s Pepsi-Cola Co. on Sunday breaks a new campaign introducing the latest slogan for its flagship soft-drink brand.

Earlier this month, Pepsi said it was dropping its “Joy of Pepsi” tagline for “Pepsi. It’s the Cola.” The new advertising, which will carry the new theme, wants to get consumers to associate Pepsi-Cola with food and mealtimes, which is why the marketer is rolling out the campaign to coincide with the holidays, starting with Thanksgiving.

“Social occasions and food occasions work together. Pepsi enhances that. We think these spots really [explain] that,” said Ted Sann, chairman and chief creative officer at Pepsi’s longtime advertising agency, Omnicom Group’s BBDO Worldwide, New York.

Three TV, 2 radio ads Initially, there will be three TV commercials and two ads for radio. TV ads will run Sunday on National Football League telecasts as well as on prime-time programming. They also will run on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast and ABC’s three-week miniseries Trista and Ryan’s Wedding.

There will be numerous outdoor executions, accompanied by an increase in outdoor spending, a departure for the soft-drink giant.

“We’ve not done [big] outdoor, but this brings the strategy to life in a powerful way,” said Katie Lacey, vice president for colas and media at Pepsi Cola North America. She would not comment on the size of the increase but said no funds would be diverted from other media.

Rare end-of-year effort Typically, Pepsi is not a big fourth-quarter spender. The brand’s most recent end-of-the-year work came in 1998. Usually the country’s No. 2 soft drink brand bows campaigns after the first of the year.

Pepsi-Cola received $138 million in measured media last year, with just $28 million coming in the fourth quarter, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

In the spot “Summer Job,” a young woman in a hot dog costume becomes dejected handing out fliers for a restaurant but brightens up when she sees a young man dressed up as a Pepsi can. In “Vacuum,” comedian Dave Chappelle tempts an automatic vacuum with a Pepsi. A third ad portrays tailgating gladiators, throwing 2-liter bottles of Pepsi and hot dogs through the air.

Two radio spots link Pepsi to lunch, while outdoor and print executions show Pepsi and different foods in friendly proximity.

Celebrity status Dave Burwick, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Pepsi-Cola North America, said Mr. Chappell is the only celebrity to appear in the ads — unlike Pepsi’s usual star-studded campaigns — though others could follow.

“We are not necessarily walking away from celebrities,” he said. “We’re walking toward” a strategy that links Pepsi with food. He said the company could employ the singer Beyonce Knowles, whom it signed last year, for future ads. The drink could be backed by upward of 12 “Pepsi. It’s the cola” spots.

Mr. Burwick said it’s too early to tell if Pepsi’s link to food would carry over to sibling Frito-Lay, as PepsiCo has done in the past with “Power of One” initiatives.

Separately, he said Pepsi-Cola and Sierra Mist likely would be the company’s beverage brands to appear in Super Bowl advertising.