Hispanic Creators Become 'Authenticators' For PepsiCo Campaign

Although the U.S. consumer base is more diverse than it has ever been, multicultural creators and consumers are often overlooked by brands and leading social media platforms.

At MediaPost’s Brand Insider Summit in Santa Barbara earlier this week, PepsiCo’s director of digital brand, influencer and social Yumna Bahgat discussed how her team addressed the ever-expanding U.S. Hispanic population using content “authenticators” in Rockstar Energy’s recent “Proud Hasta Los Huesos” campaign.  

“‘Multicultural’ is in everything we do,” Bahgat told the room of marketers, highlighting the growing power of multicultural and Hispanic consumers in today’s market.



In general, Hispanics make up nearly 20% of the U.S. population -- accounting for over 50% of overall population growth, according to the 2020 Census. And because the Hispanic population in the U.S. is on the younger side, with 58% under the age of 34 and 25% under the age of 18, a large percentage is on social media. 

According to a Forbes article published in January 2023, Hispanics are more likely to use emerging social platforms than non-Hispanics, and one in every five adult TikTok users is Hispanic. On the ByteDance-owned TikTok app, #LatinoTikTok has more than 4 billion views.

With a focus on the emergence of Hispanic social-media influencers, Bahgat and her team at PepsiCo decided to build a campaign for Rockstar Energy’s “Proud Hasta Los Huesos” (Proud to the Bones), which invited Hispanic creators to develop and share original content around Dia De Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. 

For starters, PepsiCo partnered with Mexican artist Joaquín Nava, who played an integral part in designing the Rockstar cans as well as customized seeding kits full of candles, handwritten notes, flowers and products that the brand sent to popular Hispanic influencers they wanted to work with.  

Nava and the 65 influencers who received and shared the packages on social media acted as authenticators for the national campaign, making sure each step of the process would resonate with their combined 70 million followers and Hispanic consumers across the country. 

When asked why Rockstar chose to channel their campaign through Dia De Los Muertos, Bahgat said it has proven to be an emblematic holiday that held emotional resonance not just with Mexican people but with Hispanics in general. 

Prior to launching the campaign, PepsiCo’s internal research showed that consumers were more willing to purchase Rockstar Energy drinks adorned with Nava’s Day of the Dead designs.

The campaign showcased Rockstar social and influencer kits, but came to life across a diverse array of touchpoints, including shopper media, Instacart, top Hispanic retailers and in-store promotions. 

According to Bahgat, the campaign had over 7.4 million earned media impressions from 22 earned placements in both the general market and U.S. Hispanic media outlets. The campaign also surpassed its benchmarks by two times, with 488 total placements and 248 million total impressions, including press-release distribution. 

Bahgat added that the campaign drove growth in sales of Rockstar Energy drinks and that the company is looking to see how they can expand the campaign in the future, with all the learnings gained this year.

“You can always bring in authenticators to keep you honest,” Bahgat said. “If you’re working with an artist or you’re serving consumers or you have a brain trust of consumers…I think it’s important to get a gut check from the community to keep yourself honest.”

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