Pepsi is doing more this year with its exclusive National Football League partnership, developing fresh creative for kickoff, featuring all 32 teams on point-of-sale materials and including each Pepsi variety in NFL advertising.
The brand will launch new creative on Sept. 5, during the opening game of the 2013 regular season -- a match-up of the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos. A 30-second version of the ad will run initially, while both the 30-second and 60-second versions will run during the Sunday, Sept. 8 games. Pepsi is one of almost a dozen NFL sponsors that plan to launch new football-themed creative as part of an effort to position Kickoff Weekend as an advertising event second only to the Super Bowl.
It's a logical move, given the number of viewers that tune in for the first weekend of regular-season games. Last year, nearly 106 million viewers watched Kickoff Weekend across NBC, Fox, ESPN and CBS from Sept. 5 through 10, the third consecutive Kickoff Weekend to exceed 105 million viewers.
"It's a great thing for our business," said Adam Harter, VP-consumer engagement, PepsiCo North America Beverages, of the emphasis on Kickoff Weekend. "It's one of our best-selling weekends of the year, and from an engagement standpoint, there's so much pent-up anticipation for football."
Angelique Krembs, vp-marketing for trademark Pepsi, said Pepsi worked closely with the NFL and asked consumers how they felt about different periods of the season. That's led the brand to "tell a season-long story," she said, adding that the campaign will be organized by the call to action, "Are you fan enough?" The brand worked with TBWA/Chiat/Day and Mekanism on the campaign.
In a new twist, Pepsi also plans to feature each of its varieties -- Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max and Pepsi Next -- throughout the season. The brand's deal with the NFL is at a trademark level, Ms. Krembs said, but most recently it's chosen to highlight Pepsi Max.
"We are realizing the power of bringing the brands together and how much common ground there is," Ms. Krembs explained.
During the preseason, Pepsi released two digital videos featuring Victor Cruz and Andy Dalton asking fans to demonstrate their "fandom." This week, the brand is sponsoring the official Kickoff party in Baltimore, as well as launching its "Parking Lot Hero" bus tour. And in the coming weeks, it will focus on rookies as part of its sponsorship of the Rookie of the Year contest. For the second year in a row, Pepsi is sponsoring the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
In store, point-of-sale materials promoting Pepsi products, as well as Tostitos, will feature all 32 teams, regardless of whether those teams' stadiums pour Pepsi or Coca-Cola products. Pepsi's contract with the NFL allows it to use all 32 teams and logos, but it hasn't taken advantage of that benefit in the past.
"What we love about the NFL is not only the broad appeal of football at large, but also the ability to be narrowly focused on the local teams and the passion consumers have for their local teams," Mr. Harter said of the new promotion.