Pepsi: Promotion And History Of Advertisements

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Pepsi and Promotion

An essential aspect for the American multinational is its promotion activity for its brand name and main product: in 2016 PepsiCo invested more than $2,5 billion in their marketing campaign where a large sum was implemented in digital marketing. Various channels, from television to social media, are used by the firm with the aim to keep customers’ engagement high and constant. This heavy expense in this procedure is justified by the elevated completion in the market between the different soft drinks’ companies ( Pratap, 2017 6th April ).

With a target audience of main teenagers and young adults, Pepsico’s promotion strategy combines current trends with what the customer is interested to: most of Pepsico’s promos are creative and catchy, including appearances of athletes, singers and actors in their advertising commercials (Farazuddin, Ahmed, Maddali, 2016).

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Sport, music, and movies have an enormous impact and influence to the audience and they are often sponsored by multinational firms, PepsiCo is one of them.

In 2015, with an expense of $370 million, PepsiCo obtained the main sponsorship for the NFL Super Bowl (, 10th May 2017 ) and the same event in 2018 was used as media to laugh at their new “global creative campaign”: Pepsi Generation.

The main idea behind this new advertising campaign is to celebrate their 120 years connecting the role of Pepsi in pop culture throughout its history and its future.

For NFL Super bowl 2018, PepsiCo presented a commercial with recalls from its previous commercial and a re-adaptation of its 1992 advertising campaign engaging Cindy Crawford:

After the advert, retro packaging on bottles and cans has been launched for a limited time along with their ‘Pepsi Stuff” loyalty scheme (Nawrat, 2018, 18th January ).

Quoting the Vice-president of marketing at Pepsi Trademark, Chad Stubbs: “Pepsi has stood for a youthful spirit and the choice of a new generation. 2018 will be a year to celebrate the past while embracing the future; always reminding consumers to do what they love and have a little fun in their lives.”

History of Pepsi’s advertisements

Since its establishment in the late 19th century, Pepsi has started to promote its brand and its product adopting all the possible sources of communication available: with the use of signs, flyers, and newspapers prints.

Its tremendous success and notoriety across history were partially due to the “ Cola war” against its competitor “ Coca Cola”, but mainly for the representation of American society and its values in their advertisements: from drinking Pepsi during meals to reshaping and supporting American identity in particular during war periods.

With the technological changes and the arrival of new devices available to the public, Pepsi had to adapt and invest to the new media channels, for instance, radio and first televisions.

This new way to communicate with the audience became a huge shift for Pepsi, completely reshaping the brand’s promotion and the message they provided.

During 50’s and 60’s, this radical change in the culture signed a new path for the future commercials, with the ides of being unique in contrast with the previous social conformity trend.

In those years even their target audience changed, in fact Pepsi increased its focus towards young generations launching camps closer to them.

The majority of the commercial showed the “cool lifestyle for product’s benefits ” to follow involving, at first with extra-ordinary actions in sportive context and then an increasing appearance of celebrities in their promos.

The first commercial with a celebrity engagement was a successful advertisement that shows Micheal Jackson singing and dancing along with a young boy: this iconic commercial brought a high positive acceptance by the audience.

Having noticed the boom of the promo, Pepsi kept collaborating with current spokespeople through the years:

In 1989 the commercial with Madonna where she is signing her last song “ Like a Prayer”. Began as a huge success receiving great consent by the public, the campaign was suddenly obscured after the release of the controversial official video by the artist.

Other popular campaigns from the late ’90s see David Hasselhoff as the face of the “Dare for more” slogan, with Cindy Crawford in ’92, Spice Girls, and later Britney Spears in the early 2000s ( Schich, 2019).

Through the years, commercials have become a crucial tool for Pepsi’s brand promotion and even the amount of investments in their preparation exponentially augmented, turning into “ colossals” with celebrities that interpret imaginary roles:

Examples are promos where the most famous football players at the time are engaged in the middle of a medieval fight ( commercial in 2012 ) or western context ( in 2007 ) or Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Pink are gladiators that sing “We will rock you” in a roman style colosseum and Enrique Iglesias is depicted as a despot emperor (, 2017, 5th April ).

  1. Farazuddin, S, Ahmed, F & Maddali, A. (2016). Article on Pepsi’s Promotional Strategies. Journal of Management Research and Analysis, 3(1), 56-58.
  2. Pratap, A. (2017, 6th April). PEPSI MARKETING MIX. [Weblog]. Retrieved 2 January 2019, from
  3. Harpersbazaarcom. (2017, 5th April ). 12 Pepsi Commercials That Were Actually Good. [Weblog]. Retrieved 3 January 2019, from
  4. Nawrat , A. (2018, 18th January ). PepsiCo reveal its global advertising campaign for 2018: Pepsi Generations. [Weblog]. Retrieved 2 January 2019, from
  5. Optimycom. (2017, 10th May). 7 organisations with incredibly successful event sponsorship programs. [Weblog]. Retrieved 3 January 2019, from
  6. Schich, L. (2019). Slidesharenet. Retrieved 2 January, 2019, from


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