Pepsi Changes Tagline, Tactics

NEW YORK PepsiCo’s latest campaign for its flagship brand from BBDO will break just before Thanksgiving with the new tagline “Pepsi. It’s the cola,” a client representative confirmed on Wednesday.

That line will replace the “Joy of Pepsi,” which debuted in 2000, evolving from the ealier “Joy of cola.”

The Purchase, N.Y., client had registered the lines “Pepsi. It’s the cola” as well as “How ’bout a little Pepsi?” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [Adweek, Nov. 3]. The latter line may appear in some form in the campaign, sources said.

The brand’s compatibility with various foods will be stressed and the work from Omnicom Group’s BBDO in New York will be less celebrity-centric than in the recent past, said client rep Dave DeCecco. (Pepsi ads have featured Michael Jackson, Madonna, Britney Spears, Bob Dole and Beyonce Knowles, among others.)

Pepsi campaigns have traditionally debuted on big-event programming such as the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. But DeCecco said the company decided to change the timing this year. “The reason we’re breaking new work at this time of year is because we’re having a good year for our company as a whole, and we want to bring some of that momentum to brand Pepsi,” DeCecco said.

He declined to discuss sales specifics but according to trade journal Beverage Digest, volume for brand Pepsi fell 6 percent in the first half of this year while Coke Classic volume was down 3 percent.

The client has also bought time on the Super Bowl in February, but DeCecco said the company has not yet determined which of its brands will be advertised on the telecast.

Pepsi spent $120 million on U.S. ads in 2002, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, with $20 million of that coming in the fourth quarter. DeCecco declined comment on media spending for the fourth quarter of 2003.

Chief Pepsi rival Coca-Cola is not planning any new holiday ads for TV but will rerun a spot featuring a papa polar bear sleigh riding with his cubs, sources said. WPP Group’s Berlin Cameron/Red Cell is also working on new outdoor work for Coke Classic. The agency and client declined to comment. The Atlanta-based client spent $135 million on U.S. ads for its flagship Coke Classic brand in 2002 and $30 million in the fourth quarter, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The next leg of Coke’s “Real” campaign is scheduled to break sometime in the first quarter of 2004, sources said.