In late 2012, Pepsi Co made two significant marketing investments. First, they inked Beyoncé to a 50 million dollar contract for ‘future marketing promotions’ – which includes a halftime performance at this year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans. Second, the soft drink giant committed approximately 3 million dollars to buying TV air time during the Super Bowl and to ‘crowd source’ the introduction of Beyoncé at halftime.
So, the question is: Was this a good investment by Pepsi?
Let’s start with the 50 million dollar agreement between Pepsi and Beyoncé. Typically, throwing money at a celebrity for on-going endorsements and future promotions is a sound strategy for big, global brands. Just look at Nike. And Beyoncé certainly has the star power – and on a global scale. But will putting her face on a can of soda or painting the Pepsi logo on her face during the Super Bowl halftime show really move cases of Pepsi off the store shelves? Will it make consumers view the Pepsi brand more favorably? Will it entice new consumers to try/buy/convert to Pepsi drinkers?
Time will tell.
I, for one, believe that this investment will not help to drive Pepsi sales. I do, however, believe it will propel ‘Likes’ for Beyoncé and will increase the purchase and downloads of her songs. One Pepsi executive explained the investment this way: “Consumers are seeking a much greater authenticity in marketing from the brands they love.” Interesting, right? Does Pepsi really think that partnering with Beyoncé is ‘authentic’? This endorsement and partnership would only be authentic if Beyoncé was truly a big fan of Pepsi, perhaps even reached out to them directly and was know for always having a Pepsi close by when performing, etc. However, this is not the case.
(For all of you fans out there, my opinion is not meant to slight Beyoncé in any way, shape or form. She is a talented woman, beautiful and, from what I can tell, a nice and good person. She worked out a great deal – so good for her!)
Now let’s turn to Pepsi's idea to crowd source the introduction to Beyoncé when she performs at the Super Bowl. In short, Pepsi is asking ‘fans’ to submit pictures of “poses” (from head bopping , feet tapping and hip shaking) for “the chance of a lifetime – to appear in an on-air introduction welcoming Beyoncé to the stage for the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show.” Ultimately, Pepsi will select hundreds of photos for the introduction – and the company has been spending significant money to raise awareness of this contest since late December. From running TV spots to taking over Times Square billboards, Pepsi is putting its marketing dollars behind the promotion.
Now, let’s ask the same questions we asked about the partnership with Beyoncé. Will this contest move cases of Pepsi off the store shelves? Will it make consumers view the Pepsi brand more favorably? Will it entice new consumers to try/buy/convert to Pepsi drinkers? I’m not convinced.
And only time will tell.