As the NFL season kicks-off, sponsor Pepsi released the first in a set of four football-themed TV commercials within its ’16 “Break Out The Pepsi’ campaign.
The campaign aims to compare the small, everyday wins in life with the feeling of on-pitch NFL glory and its assets are linked by the tagline ‘Time to celebrate! #BreakOutThePepsi’.
The initial spot, called ‘Phone Number’, stars Pittsburgh Steelers star Antonio Brown and debuted on 6 September.
The narrative sees key character Luca build up the courage to ask Katie out and opens a can of Pepsi to celebrate the small win of getting hold of her phone number.
This strikes Lucas as the very same feeling that Steelers wide receiver Brown must have when he scores a touchdown in the end zone.
The creative then switches to Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field as Brown dancies in the end zone after scoring and realises that this must be what it felt like for Lucas when he finally got Katie’s number.
The mainstream campaign is being developed for Pepsi by agency TBWA Chiat Day.
While it debuted at the very start of the season, this first ad was actually shot back on 12 July – when Brown spend his afternoon end zone dancing for the cameras in his Steelers’ uniform at the LA Coliseum.
The other three spots will roll out as the season unfolds.
While, simultaneously, Pepsi is activating its gargantuan NFL partnership deal on digital and social with a new players tackle social media themed campaign called ‘Zone Reads’.
This sees the NFL and Pepsi link up for the launch of a new digital series – filled with hashtags, emoji’s, posts and fantasy football – celebrating the return of football: at its heart Zone Reads is a fun, tongue-in-cheek series that stars NFL players (again, including Antonio Brown) reading fan tweets and having #fantasyfun.
The first episode in the series was posted ahead of the season on 29 August.
and Episode 2 followed as the first games off the season got underway,
while Episode 3 rolled out on 14 September to coincide the second round of NFL match-ups.
One of the stars of the series, the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett describes the fun new series: ‘Pepsi has done something that allows fans to see what we’re like as players outside of football. Obviously, it’s hard for fans to be able to see our character and the funny things that we do. This allows us to be able to interact with our fans.’
Both the TV campaign and the social spot series are fun, light-hearted and both are typical of the current advertising approach of linking celebrities ambassadors to ordinary everymen.
This tactic aims to close the seemingly ever widening gap between star sportsman and the fans who effectively pay them to play.
A further strand to Pepsi’s new NFL season activation is its unique experiences partnership programme in tandem with fellow PepsiCo brand Tostitos (see case study).
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