For more than 30 years, the three largest burger chains in the United States have failed poured Pepsi products into their establishments, rather favorable to its main rival Coca-Cola. Ahead of National Burger Day Friday – which kicks off Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of barbecue season – Pepsi is trying to change the narrative with a campaign spanning digital, out-of-home, print and social media.
“We’re going to put a stake in the ground and prove that all burgers go better with Pepsi and give everyone the chance to try Pepsi with their favorite burger,” said Todd Kaplan, vice president of marketing at PepsiCo.
Part of a “Better with Pepsi” platform introduced earlier this year, the burger push relies on blind taste testing and consumer survey data that suggests around 60% of participants preferred their McDonald’s Big Mac, Burger King Whopper or Wendy’s Dave’s Single Pepsi over Coke. Digital video spots and other assets riff on imagery of the fast food mascot, depicting what appears to be the Burger King, Ronald McDonald and Wendy all enjoying a Pepsi, but without their faces visible.
Pepsi will run print ads in paparazzi-style publications such as The New York Post’s Page Six to hammer out the scandal theme. The Out-of-Home Investments (OOH) appearing in select markets including New York, Los Angeles and the cities of Wendy’s, Burger King and the respective McDonald’s headquarters, were developed with an origami artist to reveal the Pepsi logos hidden in the existing iconography of fast food.
“Pepsi has a great heritage as a challenger brand,” Kaplan said, nodding to previous Pepsi challenges that have opposed its products to Coca. “The reality is that for years these burger chains have provided a very limited selection of drink choices on their menu. And we just thought it was a fun, very Pepsi way of looking after it.”
But the game extends beyond the so-called Big Three: On Fridays, consumers can post a photo of their favorite burger at any restaurant with a Pepsi and the hashtag #BetterwithPepsi on social media to get it. chance to receive a discount for their drink. The free offer is also available by clicking on the #BetterwithPepsi Facebook and Instagram ads, with payments distributed via Venmo, PayPal, or a digital gift card.
With the Memorial Day weekend blitz, Pepsi continues to focus on the restaurant category amid an increase in take-out and delivery due to a pandemic. But the ironic quality of execution also shows how brands like Pepsi could return to more cowardly and playful fights in their marketing after a solemn year of foreclosure.
“I think with the brand tone… it’s good for brands to be a bit lighter and a bit more focused within their categories,” Kaplan said.
Pepsi worked with Alma on the logo component of the campaign and VaynerMedia on mascot ads, while OMD handled pay media and Acceleration Community of Companies led public relations.
Freedom of choice
Pepsi seeking to occupy more of the conversation around National Burger Day follows other initiatives targeting the restaurant industry. Earlier this month, he opened a virtual restaurant called Pep’s Place that tries to capitalize on consumer interest in ghost kitchens, a category expected to represent a $ 1 trillion market around the world here. 2030, according to Euromonitor data. Pep’s Place is also part of the “Better With Pepsi” platform which tries to move away from idealized representations of food and instead focus on shameless pleasure.
Pep’s Place promotes itself as a ‘drink-first’ destination, asking visitors to choose their favorite Pepsi product before suggesting food pairings like burgers and ribs, in reverse of the typical order structure. The store has a dedicated website and is available through third-party apps including Grubhub and DoorDash. The continued adoption of digital and mobile ordering and delivery services could benefit Pepsi, as consumers don’t necessarily stop at one location for a full meal.
“With a lot of take out and people bringing food home these days, I think there’s a lot more to choose from for drinks,” Kaplan said. “A lot of people associate drinks with what they want and can have the freedom to optimize their drink choices.”
Regarding the messaging strategy, Kaplan said progress on the reopening informed the platform “Better With Pepsi” as the brand anticipated a return to normal operations and sunnier weather.
“Pepsi’s take on right now is on that shared optimism that everyone really has with the road ahead, which is so refreshing considering what we’ve all been through over the past year,” he said. he declared. “As people go out, eat and party with friends, we are part of those occasions and we want to be.”