Bubbly self-expression comes to packaging, and bite-size content, in the new campaign.
Sometimes, longer is better. But Pepsi is going super short with its new emoji-themed commercials, creating a slew of 100 five-second spots that will air on TV and in search-triggered digital media this summer.
Agencies Motive and Quietman developed the creative, while Quietman produced all the spots. They show brief, charming, cartoon vignettes of Pepsi bottles doing summery things like skydiving, sunbathing, eating ice cream and more.
The visual style is similar to the short spots Pepsi ran for its emoji bottles in Canada last summer. The hashtag, #sayitwithpepsi, also carries over from that earlier work.
Linda Lagos, brand marketing and digital director at Pepsi, tells Adweek that the soda brand has learned a lot about digital media—particularly when it comes to the value of snackable content—and is applying those learnings not just to digital but to traditional media. This explains why the five-second spots are headed to TV, where such short ads are a rarity.
"The stuff that works best is the stuff that's unskippable, that's very quick-hit entertainment," Lagos said. "This campaign is a perfect example of us taking something that's been happening in digital for a while and applying it to more mainstream media with our TV partnerships."
Getting the TV networks on board with the unusual spot length was a challenge, Lagos admitted, but Turner Broadcasting, Viacom and others are on board with it. The spots will run on both network and cable TV, Lagos added.
The online buy is interesting, too, as search terms will trigger specific spots in preroll.
"We have a really broad catalog where we are actually hand-selecting, if you will, the messages to serve to people based on what they're already interested in," Lagos said. "We worked with Google to identify the top search terms for the summer, and we have creative that will be very relevant for those search terms."
Thus, popular terms like "fireworks" and "tanning" will bring up ads with those themes.
"We have a really cute execution where the bottles are getting some sun and it's really hot, and the sound design turns to a timer going off, and the bottles turn red with this little lobster emoji," said Lagos. "We tried to tell very simple stories, celebrate the product and make it beautiful and refreshing. We have the emojis elevate the stories in a way that we haven't been able to before."
Pepsi has also struck a deal with a store in New York's Chelsea neighborhood called Story, which is hosting four weeks of Pepsi-themed emoji events. "From a DIY style studio to temporary tattoo parlor and design-driven events, the next four weeks aim at inspiring you to play with your words, food, even your clothes. Put on a happy face and let's get emojional," Story said in a post on its website.
As for the broader focus on emojis—which will appear on Pepsi cans and bottles this summer—Lagos said the ubiquitous symbols are particularly apt for the Pepsi brand.
"Emojis are definitely here to stay. They're global. My dad, who lives in Honduras, sends me emojis every day, which is hilarious," she said. "What we love about them, which is so in tune with what Pepsi is about, is that they are a really great form of self-expression. And at Pepsi, we've celebrated all forms of self-expression."