PepsiCo vp of marketing for colas and Adweek contributor Todd Kaplan still sees America’s second most popular soda as a challenger brand—and this summer, his team and their agency partners want to make the biggest possible splash by pushing that narrative on the country’s fastest-growing social platform, Instagram.
To do so, they teamed up with the Facebook-owned app’s in-house development team as well as top influencers DJ Khaled and Chrissy Teigen for a campaign called #Summergram.
“Since I came on to this business back in the fall, we’ve really wanted to connect the Pepsi brand much more to culture and tap into these key consumer truths, and really reignite our challenger spirit where the Pepsi brand has been at its best,” Kaplan told Adweek.
Together, Pepsi and Instagram created approximately 250 different augmented reality filters and digital stickers characterized by irreverent, summer-themed phrases like “Long Days, Short Shorts,” “RV There Yet?” and “Best. Summer. Ever.” More than 200 million bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Zero will bear these taglines as well as a unique QR code that users can scan to access different AR-powered Instagram filters. They will also appear on approximately 30 million fountain cups at Pepsi partner organizations.
The video and screenshots below showcase some of those filters, which feature several characters, including a flamingo, crab and unicorn. The same creatures will appear, in larger-than-life inflatable form, at Pepsi-sponsored pop-up events in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago.
Here’s a screenshot of the unicorn lounging in Adweek’s lobby.
“We are maniacally focused on connecting with consumers in culturally relevant ways,” said Kaplan, explaining the strategy behind this campaign. “Social media usage peaks over the summer months, which makes sense because people are out and about with their phones, and everyone is seeing that iconic photo of the feet by the pool with the drink, hashtag best summer ever.”
While rival Coca-Cola’s summer effort centers on wristbands designed to “unlock” specific events and experiences, Kaplan said Pepsi looks to dominate those iconic photos through both paid and, hopefully, earned media generated by the thousands of followers who share the tags on their own personal accounts.
“It’s not about awareness, and it’s not about trial; everyone’s heard of Pepsi. It’s more about how people feel about the brand and how you connect to Pepsi.” he said. “Sure, we could buy a couple of banner ads, but we’d rather do something that will actually be additive to consumers while also expressing our brand’s point of view.”
The videos below more completely demonstrate the campaign’s digital assets.
In addition to the bottles and Instagram activations, this comprehensive campaign will include 25 different 15-second spots created by Pepsi’s digital agency of record, VaynerMedia. Those ads, which have not yet been released, will run on both broadcast TV and various digital platforms.
The brand has also collaborated with Giphy to create original stickers that Instagram users can share in their own stories. Finally, Pepsi is leaning heavily on celebrity influencers for this effort, much like it did in the Super Bowl campaign that starred Steve Carell and featured guest appearances from hip-hop stars Lil Jon and Cardi B.
For #Summergram, pop star Khaled and model and author Teigen will use their 40 million-strong followers to spread Pepsi’s message on the platform.
But the effort isn’t purely digital; below, see examples of the thousands of out-of-home executions planned for several major cities to coincide with the summer-long campaign. In addition to VaynerMedia, Pepsi worked with experiential agency Motive, which helped design and develop many of the key #Summergram phrases and AR filters along with the Instagram team, and PR firm Acceleration, which has helped to promote the pop-up events.