Pepsi presses play on summer with Bad Bunny, Apple Music

    Pepsi today launched “Press Play On Summer,” a new campaign that pairs the beverage brand with global music superstar Bad Bunny. As part of the effort, consumers who purchase select bottles of PepsiCo soft drinks can scan a QR code to unlock three free months of Apple Music.

    The campaign sees Pepsi doubling down on a storied connection to music culture during a season when 75% of consumers are listening throughout the day. Over 100 billion songs are streamed every summer, according to data shared by the company. The seasonal push also comes as Pepsi continues to evolve its marketing strategy around music after relinquishing sponsorship rights to the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Apple Music took over the rights last year and made its first appearance on the big game stage in February. 

    “[The campaign] is actually very consistent with the strategy we’ve had, which is beating the drum on music for so many years,” said Todd Kaplan, Pepsi’s chief marketing officer, in a recent interview. “It’s really what Pepsi has been all about, this idea of unapologetic enjoyment and this idea that people can enjoy their summers more with a Pepsi in hand and listening to some great Apple Music.”

    The fully integrated campaign spans TV, digital, out-of-home, retail activations in both English and Spanish, gas station TV plays and more. To expand the campaign beyond its flagship soda, PepsiCo is putting QR codes on over 400 million bottles across its carbonated soft drink portfolio, including various flavors of Pepsi, Mountain Dew and its recently launched Starry brand.

    The tie-up with Apple Music, a fast-growing platform that had more than 88 million users in 2022, calls back to a past Pepsi campaign around the iPhone maker’s last great musical innovation, the iTunes library. While a 2004 effort to give away 100 million songs on iTunes faced technical and supply chain issues, the use of QR codes could make “Press Play on Summer” go down smoother. 

    Pepsi is tapping into QR code-enabled packaging that has become popular since the pandemic made touchless experiences the norm. The codes fit in nicely into Pepsi’s recently overhauled — and newly maximalist — visual identity and are part of the brand’s embrace of phygital channels.

    “Press Play On Summer” also continues Pepsi’s tradition of working with the biggest names in pop music, from Michael Jackson and Britney Spears to Beyoncé and now Bad Bunny. The Puerto Rican star is the most-streamed artist in the world, with the number-one album of 2022 and the highest-grossing tour of 2022, among other superlatives.

    For now, Bad Bunny appears in just a brief six-second teaser for the campaign, but Kaplan noted that the brand has more touchpoints and plans in store for the summer.

    The musician has a previous relationship with Pepsi, having appeared as part of the Super Bowl Halftime Show in 2020, right as his global stardom was taking off. He also was part of a campaign around PepsiCo brand Cheetos, collaborated with Adidas and has wrestled at major WWE events, making him a ubiquitous celebrity across pop culture.

    “Bad Bunny transcends culture,” Kaplan said. “He is so hot with all the different touchpoints… He’s always very authentic to [himself] as well. He wouldn’t partner with us unless it was a really deep authentic connection and something that he cared about and we were going to be doing something special together.”


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