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Pepsi Counts Down to '09 With 'Wordplay'

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NEW YORK Pepsi is kicking off the new year with a major presence in New York City's Times Square and the debut of the first TV ad by its new agency, Omnicom Group's TBWA\Chiat\Day, Playa del Rey, Calif.
 
The ad, "Wordplay," began running on Dec. 28 on YouTube and a microsite, Refresheverything.com. It's meant to appeal to the next generation known as millennials, per Pepsi. Appropriately, the ad is a fast-paced montage of words like "love," "optimism" and "joy" set against various colorful backgrounds. It also features Pepsi's new logo and the words "Happy 2009" in different languages, including English, French and Spanish.
 
"Wordplay" is the first work for the brand by TBWA\C\D, which was named lead creative agency for the Pepsi trademark in the U.S. In November, Pepsi dropped BBDO, New York, after 48 years on the account.
 
The concept for the ad was inspired by a Pepsi survey that found 95 percent of millennials feel it's important for them to maintain a positive outlook on life. The company surveyed more than 2,000 Americans, as part of the Pepsi Optimism Project, or POP.
 
In addition to launching the new ad, Pepsi has partnered with MTV to encourage U.S. consumers to "broadcast their messages of optimism and hope for 2009" during the network's New Year's coverage in Times Square. The messages are being broadcast between Dec. 28 and Dec. 31.
 
Pepsi started handing out branded buttons and party favors in advance of New Year's Eve, and has taken over various displays in Times Square, such as the GMA SuperSign and the Toys 'R Us billboard. The company also plans to release thousands of balloons unveiling Pepsi's new logo minutes before the ball drops.

(Read a brief critique of "Wordplay" in Adweek's Ad of the Day feature.)