PepsiCo to debut new reality dating show during MTV commercial breaks
PepsiCo will debut its new reality dating competition series, designed to promote its new mango-flavored beverage, during the commercial breaks of MTV's series "The Challenge: Double Agents."
Following a product launch campaign last month that saw eligible singles promote themselves on Pepsi’s social media ad inventory, PepsiCo has doubled down on the “surprisingly perfect pairing” mantra that has backed Pepsi Mango since its debut, enlisting ViacomCBS to help create a new reality dating series that upholds the soda as an analogy for love.
Dubbed “Match Me If You Can,” the show’s premise is to bring a slew of reality TV stars from different franchises together to see if any of them can find their own surprisingly perfect pairing (wink wink). Produced by ViacomCBS’s in-house content studio Velocity, the five-part reality show will have an equally unorthodox rollout strategy.
The first episode of “Match Me If You Can” will air on April 21 during the season finale of long-running MTV show “The Challenge: Double Agents” via a string of commercial break takeovers. The soda giant calls these commercial-break takeovers, “a new concept from Pepsi and MTV that merges fandoms and creates a show within a show.” The show is airing at 8 p.m. EST and will also drop on MTV’s YouTube channel that same evening.
So it's a reality show within a reality show that solely stars contestants from reality shows past. Cue the music score from “Inception.”
After the series premiere, its remaining four episodes will continue to appear one-at-a-time on YouTube every subsequent Wednesday, with the entirety of the show simultaneously being made available on ViacomCBS' Pluto TV post-launch.
“By leveraging consumer insights around modern dating and our creative expertise, we were able to create a fun, unapologetic digital series” that’s able to “authentically generate excitement and engagement around Pepsi’s newest flavor,” says Matthew Newcomb, senior VP of marketing activation at ViacomCBS' Velocity.
The limited-run series will be hosted by Lauren Speed Hamilton, who first commanded the nation’s attention last year with her appearance on Netflix’s “Love Is Blind,” in which she got engaged to fellow contestant Cameron Hamilton.
Joining Speed Hamilton are eight other reality TV personalities—mostly from parallel romance-centric shows—who will play Pepsi’s pool of star-crossed lovers: Ashley Brooke Mitchell of MTV’s “The Challenge”; Eric Bigger of “The Bachelorette”; Harry Jowsey of Netflix’s “Too Hot To Handle”; Onyeka Ehie of “The Bachelor”; Natalie Negrotti of “Big Brother”; Kyra Green of the U.S. version of “Love Island”; Joey Sasso of “The Circle”; and Kylie Smith of “Are You The One?”
Check out a teaser trailer for “Match Me If You Can,” released today:
While product placements are surprisingly sparse in the video, make no mistake: this digital series is tied to the launch of Pepsi Mango. Officially released on March 22, the new fruit-flavored soda earned the distinction of becoming Pepsi’s first permanent flavor addition in five years, and was the brand’s first ever to be introduced in regular and Zero Sugar varieties at the same time.
“Simply put, mango’s having a moment right now,” PepsiCo’s VP of marketing Todd Kaplan told Ad Age following the launch. Consumption of the tropical fruit in the U.S. has tripled over the past 10 years with mango-flavored beverage sales now approaching $9 billion annually, he said, calling such drinks a “huge growth driver” in the cola space right now.
“Match Me If You Can” is hardly Pepsi’s first foray into the realm of original series. In December, the brand partnered with Fox to develop trivia-based game show “Cherries Wild,” continuing a well-established pop culture marketing strategy via a tie-in with Pepsi Wild Cherry. Prior to that, Pepsi and Fox had collaborated on a smaller scale, creating integrations and sponsorships connected to hit shows such as “Empire” and “The X Factor.”