Pepsi today launches its second global campaign and first TV spot featuring Beyonce in her role as global brand ambassador.
Executives close to the development and production of the spot say Beyonce was very hands on -- offering ideas for the creative concept, as well as weighing in on wardrobe decisions and her lines.
"We've worked with a lot of athletes and celebrities, usually the client and agency develop something, then it's presented to the artist or athlete for approval. And then you all go make it and they sign off and approve the final content," said Chris Mendola, chairman-founder of 180 LA, the agency that worked on the spot. "This was nothing like that at all."
"Certainly from Beyonce's standpoint, her image -- it's impeccable," Mr. Mendola added. "This isn't a negative, but there was just a high level of perfection, a really, really detailed level of perfection to craft this particular film to the standards of Beyonce and Pepsi and 180."
When the singer was announced as the soda's global brand ambassador in December, the deal was touted as a "true creative and wide-ranging global collaboration. "At the time, Pepsi said it would pioneer a new way for brands to work with musical talent, "moving from sponsor to partner."
"We sat down in a room and shared a lot of different ideas about how we might bring these two concepts of Beyonce and Pepsi together," said Brad Jakeman, president-global beverages group. "We jointly landed on this concept we call 'Mirrors.'"
In the spot, which also includes Beyonce's new single "Grown Woman," the star meets her past personas, from her Destiny's Child days to Sasha Fierce, in a mirrored studio. She works on dance moves with each persona before completing the dance as her current self and acknowledging that her past helped her to become who she is now --neatly complementing Pepsi's brand mantra "Live For Now." The spot ends with Beyonce saying the line, "Embrace your past, but live for now."
The spot will air in 70 countries and Pepsi predicts it will be seen by 1 billion people. The spot launched on Beyonce.com today and will premiere on TV in the U.S. during Monday's episode of "The Voice." Jake Nava, who worked on the "Crazy in Love" video, directed the commercial.
Mr. Jakeman admitted this new model took some adjustment. "With many new models, it takes a little while, especially in the early stages for everyone to understand and feel confident with their area of creative expertise. At the beginning there was some uncertainty," Mr. Jakeman said. "But when we got into the rhythm of the creative collaboration, and [180 LA] saw the creative work was getting exponentially better as a result, everyone went with the flow."
Simon Lowden, CMO at Pepsi Beverages North America, said "Mirrors" will get heavy placement in the U.S. in the coming months and air through the summer, when the "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour" kicks off. There will be point-of-sale and packaging related to the Beyonce partnership, as well as meet-and-greet events and ticket giveaways tied to the tour.
Mr. Lowden said it's the first time Pepsi's international and the U.S. units have been in sync, from a talent perspective since the days of Britney Spears and The Spice Girls.
"It's the first time, in a long time, we've had a global footprint," said Mr. Lowden, who previously served in a Pepsi International role. "There's a huge amount of consumer excitement with such a [large] activation around the world."
Importantly, Mr. Lowden added, the company's bottlers are also excited about the partnership. "Winning with them before the consumer is always magic," he said.
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