Pepsi Living The Experiences, For Now

With global layoffs at Coca-Cola in the headlines, PepsiCo this week is surely content with a series of small stories here and there that keep us abreast of its short-term advertising plans, “kooky” cook-offs, Super Bowl hype and demographic targeting philosophy. 

“PepsiCo has cooked up a kooky way to bring attention to its products: It's asking top culinary students to create the ultimate Super Bowl party fare by using the company's food and beverages as ingredients,” Laura Petrecca writes in USA Today.

Four two-person student teams at The Culinary Institute of America will have to use at least three PepsiCo products — including at least one food and one beverage — in concocting a menu for a “Game Day Grub Match” cook-off this weekend that will be hosted by Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America”hostAnne Burrell, Petrecca reports. 



Two teams will be selected to travel to Phoenix for a finals competition at an event before Super Bowl XLIX with the winners sharing a $5,000 scholarship and getting to go to the game. Here’s a video put together by two semifinalists, Matthew F. Johnson and Cullen Folks, along with their blooper reel. Ah, to be young and kooky.

The citizens of Rochester, N.Y., meanwhile, are reading in the Democrat & Chronicle this morning that their wintry city has been dubbed “The Most Hyped Hometown in America” — at least for this year’s competition tied to the halftime show of the Super Bowl. 

Hype is a good thing, in this instance. The benefits of the designation, Neeti Upadhye reports, “include a pop-up concert featuring a special yet-to-be-named guest, and a lucky group of Rochesterians will win tickets to the Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX halftime show to see singer Katy Perry perform live.”

Last year’s winner — the first — was Milligan, Neb., where country star Lee Brice descended for a concert for 5,000 people in a town built to accommodate a couple of hundred.

“During the sweepstakes period — Nov. 26 to Dec. 27 — local participants submitted a photo or video, along with a brief description, showing excitement for the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show,” writes Upadhye — 509 in all. “The submissions were judged by an independent panel based on originality and creativity.” 

Ad Age’s E.J. Shultz reported Wednesday that Pepsi was “bypassing” agencies at Omnicom that have long crafted its advertising — as well as stars such as Beyoncé — for new executions in its global “Live for Now” campaign. The agencies for the new spots are both based in New York City: Lloyd&Co and Moondog Edit

“The shift in direction is occurring under Kristin Patrick, PepsiCo's chief marketing officer for global beverage brands who joined the company in May of 2013,” Shultz reports. 

“In an interview, [Patrick] stressed that ‘we have a very deep, long-going relationship with Omnicom and we are using them for many aspects of our 2015 campaign. But having said that, we want to find creative talent around the world that really suits whatever project we are working on. And for this one, we really wanted small, super-creative, nimble, fast [agencies] — a different spirit.’”

“Life is a series of moments made epic by jumping in and making it your own in the now,” is the message in this spot on the Pepsi Deutschland YouTube channel, replete with a nostalgic “bah-bah-bah-bah-bah” at the end. The campaign has come under fire from environmental groups for suggesting that “Live for Now” is not a sustainable ethos.

In other developments, Brian Walsh, PepsiCo’s senior director/shopper insights for North American Beverages, told a research conference this week that “brands and retailers must not fall victim to focusing their attention solely on Millennials, despite the obvious appeal of this audience,” WARC reports.

“They spend about 20% more, so they are bigger baskets. By 2020, their buying power is going to be 30% of all purchases,” Walsh told an audience at the Institute for International Research’s Market Research Event. But “Boomers remain a crucial area to analyze, alongside the wants and needs of their younger counterparts,” he maintains.

One distinction between the two groups: Boomers are very conscious of “value” and “benefits” while “one thing we know about Millennials is: it's all about experience. So they will trade off value if they feel they're getting the experience part.”

For now.

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