Pepsi Lights Up Grill With Bobby Flay, Launches Summer Flavors


Pepsi is firing things up for the summer grilling season, with a celebrity-focused campaign and two seasonal flavors.

Pepsi teamed up with celebrity chef Bobby Flay for the latest installment in its annual summer “#BetterWithPepsi” campaign focused on food pairings.

Flay will star in an upcoming campaign rolling out in the leadup to Memorial Day and continuing through the summer, appearing in ads across channels including  linear TV, in-store display, digital shorts, and a social series featuring grill tips, tricks, and tutorials.

Alongside the campaign, Pepsi is releasing two limited-release flavors designed to complement summer BBQ staples: Pepsi Lime and Pepsi Peach.

Both flavors will soon be available nationally in 12 oz. cans and 20 oz. bottles. Consumers can scan a QR code on cans or bottles of the new flavors for access to exclusive recipes from Flay, and enter a promotional sweepstakes for “an epic BBQ experience” from the brand, which includes a BBQ set and wardrobe, a Bobby Flay cookbook, and various other grilling and backyard-related items There’s also a rebate offer for consumers who share receipts of purchases combining Pepsi and food.



"When it comes to barbecue, the right beverage can truly elevate the experience,” Flay said in a statement, suggesting pairing Pepsi with “fall-off-the-bone ribs, juicy burgers, or perfectly smoked brisket” (a list of food items you can expect to see shots of in the ensuing campaign)  for a “truly memorable meal.”

The campaign is a continuation of Pepsi’s previous summer campaigns devoted to food pairings, following the launch of “#BetterWithPepsi” in 2021, with an initial focus on burgers.

Pepsi is extending the approach further through its partnership with celebrity chef and restaurateur Aarón Sánchez on a food-focused streaming series, "Talking Sabor," as part of its “Mejor con Pepsi” campaign, which also includes Spanish-language retail and OOH advertising. 

While there’s no denying the appeal of summer grilling, it’s perhaps a bit overstated in Pepsi’s release announcing the campaign, which claims “a recent study by the Harris Poll showed 80% of Americans prefer outdoor BBQs to dining out.” Since the Harris Poll survey in question was actually conducted in March of 2021, at the height of the pandemic, it’s perhaps not surprising that so many preferred grilling in the backyard to going out to eat at a restaurant.

Pepsi also released its Q1 earnings report and held an accompanying investors call April 23. “Our ability to understand local rituals and local food and beverage occasions is better than ever. We are adapting our portfolio to that,” PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta said on the call, hinting at the approach behind introducing the new seasonal flavors.

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