For football players, choosing their jersey number has been limited. Beyond the retired numbers or the star player having that coveted number, one option has been off the jersey, zero. To celebrate the No. 0 rule change, Pepsi Zero Sugar, the Official Zero of the NFL, is making a bold statement that zeroes are the heroes of the gridiron.
Pepsi has long leveraged its relationship with the NFL. While many people appreciate the food campaign “Better with Pepsi,” the reality is that the iconic cola drink has a cultural connection in the sports world as well.
Ahead of the 2023-24 NFL Season, Pepsi Zero Sugar announced its newest campaign that celebrates the first time that the No. 0 can be worn by players. Joining forces with running back D’Andre Swift of the Philadelphia Eagles, who will be wearing the No. 0 this season, Pepsi will celebrate not only the players but connect with fans for unique experiences. In a way, it is a celebration that zeroes are ready to make their presence known.
Recently, FoodSided spoke with Melissa Duhaime, Director of Sports Marketing, PepsiCo regarding this new campaign. As more people prepare to join #TeamZero, the upcoming season showcases how food, beverages, and sports are and will continually be interconnected.
When asked about the fan connection between food and sports, Duhaime commented, the fan connection is why she loves this campaign. “I think if you look at our history, we’ve always done unique and different things with the NFL. But, unlike our partners at Gatorade, for example, we’re not as endemic to the game and the players. With this NFL rule change, we are able to highlight Pepsi Zero Sugar and the number zero. It is a really great opportunity for us to take that NFL partnership and bring it to the next level. It really does connect directly to something that currently relevant. Players are wearing No. 0 for the first time and Pepsi Zero Sugar is going to be everywhere. We’re really excited about it.”
After the beverage brand reformulated, it was time to reinvigorate that drinking enjoyment. Duhaime said, “were super excited about the new formula and the great taste. Partnering with the NFL and the players is a way to bring the fans into the experience.
“I think that my favorite part of this platform is that the zero games aspect. Giving fans who have never been to a NFL game thanks to Pepsi Zero Sugar is super unique and fun. It is all about celebrating the zero. The NFL is supporting us in a number of different ways. This is a real, ownable platform that is great for the brand, the NFL, and the fans. Everyone is engaged.”
Over the years, the Zero Sugar beverage has partnered with other sports organizations. The Pepsi brand understands that sports have a loyal fan base. When a brand can showcase the synergy between the entities, it is a win for everyone involved.
In some ways, the aspect of bringing NFL fans who have never seen a game that experience is heart of this campaign. It is not necessarily that zero to hero trope seen in movies, but it is giving that loyal, passionate fan an opportunity of a lifetime.
As Duhaime explained, “the majority of NFL fans have never actually been to an NFL game, but they are still so passionate. I’ve been working in sports for 20 plus years and the favorite part of my job is being able to give people that once in a lifetime memory. Pepsi is creating that opportunity for them, and those moments will be great.”
While Duhaime is part of the Bills Nation and hope that her team has a successful run this season, everyone will be cheering for the zeroes both on and off the field. From the players who get to wear the number zero on their jersey or the fans who get to enjoy their first in-person NFL game, everyone will be raising a bottle of Pepsi Zero Sugar for the win.
More information on this new campaign and its various promotions throughout the season can be found online.