Super Bowl

Pepsi Puts the Public in Super Bowl Spot

Consumers Are Pop Stars With Beyoncé; Second Spot Features Pepsi Next

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Pepsi has big plans for its Super Bowl ad time -- and they might just involve you.

The beverage brand plans to use half of the 60 seconds it's bought in the game to introduce the halftime show, headlined by its global brand ambassador, Beyoncé. In a twist, the creative will incorporate photos of consumers that Pepsi will solicit via ads before the Super Bowl. Typically the Halftime Report bumps right up to the show. The remaining ad time will be used to promote Pepsi Next, the mid-cal cola that launched nationally less than a year ago.

The PepsiCo-owned brand will ask consumers to send photos of themselves doing specific movements, such as shouting, head bopping and feet tapping. The pose requests will roll out through mid-January, giving consumers a reason to stay engaged, said Adam Harter, VP-consumer engagement of PepsiCo North America Beverages. Two 15-second spots, along with 350 out-of -home ads, will also encourage consumers to participate. Up to 400 of the photos will be compiled by agency Mekanism into the spot introducing the halftime show.

"It really begins with the insight that Pepsi consumers want to be active participants, not observers of life," Mr. Harter said. Last year Pepsi launched Live For Now, a global campaign meant to position the brand on the pop culture forefront around the world.

"The halftime show, just "Brought to you by Pepsi,' may register some awareness. [With this spot] we're hoping for a bigger takeaway than just Pepsi is the sponsor," said Angelique Krembs, VP-marketing for trademark Pepsi. "There's never actually been an ad in that position. We hope that will change the conversation and make this not feel like a traditional commercial."

Ms. Krembs believes the unique approach to Super Bowl ad time -- the brand worked closely with the NFL and CBS -- creates a dialogue and helps the brand's multimillion-dollar outlay work harder. The average cost for a Super Bowl spot this year is between $3.7 million and $3.8 million.

In the days leading up to the big game, Pepsi will notify the consumers whose photos will appear in the spot. "That will create a lot of talk value and pass-along," Ms. Krembs said. "A Pepsi brand communication going from friend to friend is much more powerful than brand to consumer."

Pepsi will also be promoting its newest product, Pepsi Next. The cola, which features 60 calories per 12 oz. serving and 60% less sugar, went national last March. TBWA/Chiat/Day will be handling creative, which will keep with the brand's "Drink It to Believe It" tagline. Given recent sugar concerns, it seems like a smart move. "We're putting turbos behind [Pepsi Next]," Ms. Krembs said. "We're hoping it's a smart use of such a big stage."

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