For packaged goods giant PepsiCo, the Super Bowl is undoubtedly a massive occasion. Pepsi is sponsoring the halftime show for the fourth year running, Mountain Dew will return with an in-game spot, Doritos will air its last ever “Crash the Super Bowl” advert and Gatorade drinks will litter the field.
We spoke to Pepsi’s chief marketing officer Seth Kaufman and PepsiCo snacks division Frito-Lay’s chief marketing officer Ram Krishnan ahead of Super Bowl weekend to find out why it spends so much on the big game each year.
But first we had to ask about the half-time show. Kaufman was unwilling to explain the decision to invite Coldplay to headline, alongside Beyoncé. When Coldplay was announced as the headline act, many people aired their disappointment at the choice on Twitter.
But he did tell us the theme: “Think about this half-time show less about a headline act and more about it being Super Bowl 50. It’s about a celebration of past, present and future in music. It’s certainly a nod back to Super Bowl halftime shows of the past,” Kaufman said. “This is really the biggest concert of the year, with higher ratings than the rest of the game. 120 million people (are watching.)”
But for the company, the big game is just the culmination of months of marketing activity. The 15-minute performance is not “the be all and end all.”
“We look at it not just as a single interaction on single day — we look at it as a whole six months of the NFL season in which we’ve activated all of the brands,” Krishnan told Business Insider. “The game is almost an exclamation mark, it’s not the be all and end all, at the end of the journey of a conversation we’ve had with consumers for six months. Gone are the days when it’s just Super Bowl Sunday.”
Pepsi’s Kaufman added: “We’ll have conversations on different platforms throughout the game. That’s the big thing. It’s now a two way conversation between the brand and the consumer.”
The two PepsiCo CMOs told Business Insider that it is important to look at how people consume media differently in an increasingly multi-screen age. It’s not all about TV adverts during the Super Bowl this year because consumers have changed.
“The generation Z consumers are now our core target — most consumers are already digitally native and they’re content creators. They have their own social networks,” Krishnan said.
But PepsiCo is still satisfied with the return on its massive investment on game day.
“We are always evaluating what value we’re getting out and we keep leaning in on this platform and I think that says it all,” Kaufman said.
Here’s the full run-down of PepsiCo’s marketing activity during Super Bowl 50:
Pepsi is sponsoring the halftime show starring Coldplay and Beyonce.
It will also run an in-game advert starring a “top recording artist.”
Finally, the drinks brand will run spots featuring Donald Faison — known for his role as Dr. Turk in “Scrubs.” The first can be viewed here:
The tortilla chip brand will put on its last ever “Crash the Super Bowl” advert during the game. The winner will get a $1 million prize and the chance to work with director Zack Snyder — known for his work on “300,” “Man of Steel” and the upcoming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Here’s one of the ads vying for the chance to win the contest this year:
Mountain Dew will promote its Kickstart range in the brand’s first Super Bowl spot since 2000. The in-game ad will play on the combination of “three awesome things combined.” Kickstart combines Mountain Dew, real fruit juice and caffeine.
Here’s a teaser:
Tostitos is the official chip and dip partner of the big game.
Gatorade will hydrate players on the field.
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