Social Selfie To Experiential: Pepsi’s IPL ‘Intern’ Activation

Pepsi kicked off its IPL 7 activation, ‘That Pepsi Intern’, by hiring brand ambassador and Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor as the title sponsor’s ‘Intern’.


Pepsi promoted this appointment via a set of short films depicting how great Kapoor’s life was as that Pepsi intern.


1 April saw Pepsi begin with a short 30-second teaser spot



Followed a few days later by full two-minute vide the brand called and ‘Epic Trailer’.



The films shows how his life as an intern was an ‘epicness overload’ – with great experiences and VIP treatment.


This creative aims to be youthful, eye-catching and enjoyable and to acts as a call to arms to consumers to participate in the fun.


Because, as the campaign rapidly evolved, Pepsi then promptly fired Kapoor as its intern and opened up the position for Pepsi consumers and IPL fans across India – asking ‘Can you be the Pepsi Intern’.


Incentivising participation by offering VIP access at the matches, the chance to take part in crazy IPL-related tasks and received once-in-a-lifetime cricket experiences – as well as the coveted title of @ThatPepsiIntern.


Applicants were encouraged to apply for the post via a contest that sees players uploading a selfie with Pepsi and then answering a question about becoming the next @ThatPepsiIntern.


Thus the campaign, developed with agencies JWT and Dentsu Indian owned Taproot, began as a predominantly as a celebrity-fronted, content-led social media initiative and evolved into a consumer-led experiential campaign.


Successful Pepsi Interns are covering the T20 tournament, with exclusive access to matches and inside access to players and celebrities – and the chance to take further selfies, maake Vines and post tweets with/about the stars.


Thus offering a lucky set of consumer ambassadors an amazing experience and a unique chance to share (and perhaps to flaunt) the role and their content with friends and family, other Pepsi drinkers and cricket fans across their own and the brand’s channels.


The campaign, which continuing to use the brand’s umbrella ‘Oh yes, Abhi’ tagline,  is being heavily promoted across social media and is also being promoted via through on-ground activation and in-stadium ads.


The campaign is generated a lot of social media buzz, particularly on Twitter where consumers and fans have been inundating the brand with entertaining Pepsi selfies.


As well as the on-air ads and digital work, Pepsi is also running on-ground experiences and campaigns work encompassing online and offline media.


Additional activation strands include ticket giveaways, fan experiences in the Pepsi VIP box, merchandise, special edition packaging, as well as heavy in-stadium on-ground logo visibility and brand presence.


Pepsi is also using its exclusive IPL pouring partnerships with the franchise teams to keep players, officials and fans refreshed, as well as running new drink and food product sample taster sessions at IPL games.


The soft drinks sponsor has teamed up with One97 Communications’ mobile commerce platform Paytm to help launch its IPL 7 marketing campaign ‘Is T20 harr koi jeetega’.


For a consumer promotion strand of the campaign, Paytm is rolling out an SMS led mega shopping festival from 16 April for customers on its mobile marketplace.


Consumers are being offered a free recharge of Rs 15 on their prepaid mobile recharge and postpaid mobile bills.


The platform also offers up to 200% cash back on mobile recharges and is giving away shopping vouchers with all 1 litre and above Pepsi, Mirinda, Mountain Dew, 7up and Slice bottles, plus on Kurkure and Lays packs.


The initiative also sees a consumer competition, with the winner will be chosen through a lucky draw.


The tie-up also sees a special chat session for lucky customers with cricketers Dinesh Karthik and Gautam Gambhir.


Paytm is also introducing Pepsi-branded IPL merchandise on its mobile marketplace – including IPL teams branded t-shirts, caps and more.


It has also launched a TV ad with Pepsi featuring Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor.



The spot is airing during the IPL season across multiple TV channels and screening in cinema chains.




The Pepsi Intern idea is cleverly timed to leverage the youth trend for ‘selfie culture’ (which in the last year has swept the cultural landscape from Mandela’s funeral to this year’s Oscars) and the aim is to use this tech-cultural trend to drive youth brand engagement.


This sees Pepsi use the IPL to continue its strategy set several decades ago – namely to challenge rival Coca-Cola was by focusing on the youth market. The idea is to spend their time, money and energy appealing to a younger market who, eventually, would replace the more mature Coke drinkers.


In India the two spaces Pepsi is driving this strategy are ‘Cricket’ and ‘Bollywood’ and the brand has largely succeeded in ensuring its image and product s positioned as forward-looking, modern, trendy, hip, young and even rebellious.


After all, Pepsi now outsells Coke in India with a 15% market share compared to Coke’s 8.8% (according to Euromonitor).


It’s huge IPL partnership deal, which saw Pepsi pay US$71.77m (double the previous title sponsor fee) for the tournament title rights for the next five years (2013-17) now lies at the centre of this strategy.


Interestingly, while campaign front man Ranbir Kapoor has appeared in other Pepsi promotions in 2014, such as January’s ‘Jockey’ spot



and February’s ‘Nadaswaram’ commercial,



it still seems surprising that two weeks into IPL7 and the title sponsor has yet to feature creative starring its best known cricket brand ambassador (and  Indian captain) MS Dhoni. 


While Dhoni’s name was dragged into the last IPL betting scandal, it seems surprising for Pepsi not to leverage its highest profile ambassador who remains a hugely popular national team captain and a youth icon.


Other brands who employ Dhoni as an ambassador, such as Aircel, are heavily featuring him in their IPL related activation and it would surprising if he doesn’t feature in Pepsi work later in the tournament.




Pepsi Intern Website



Pepsi Intern Facebook



Pepsi Intern Twitter




Pepsi Intern Google Plus



Featured Showcases