Sometimes going bigger can make a huge splash. For other occasions, a slightly more low-key approach can bring the desired attention. Over its 125 years, Pepsi has found ways to leverage all the concepts to showcase a universal idea that applies to every situation. That iconic cola is always a refreshing choice.
Throughout its 125th anniversary celebration, Pepsi has showcased the various ways the beverage brand has woven its story into the cultural collective. While many people might pick that cold can from the refrigerator, it is more than just a blind grab. Some people might use the terms soda, pop, or even cola interchangeably, but that generalization is fading from the conversation.
While many people have come to appreciate that the slightly sweet, citrus notes of the cola in the blue can will make almost any and every food taste better, it is more than the flavor that draws people to pick it up. From Super Bowl Halftime shows to supporting musicians in various ways, there is a pop culture connection to its refreshment. Who hasn’t sipped on that beverage and wondered what it would be like to step into that commercial, onto that stage, or into that moment?
Speaking to that pop culture connection, Jenny Danzi, Senior Director, Pepsi TM shared “For our 125th anniversary, we’ve been celebrating where Pepsi has stood at the intersection of food, sports, music and entertainment. The brand has consistently demonstrated its ability to shape pop culture and build relevance, which has been supported by key partnerships with some of the most iconic properties and individuals in the world. Each of us – whether we realize it or not – have a standout Pepsi memory, which is why we brought to life The Pepsi 125 Diner. The unique and immersive experience opened in October for a limited run, featuring a gallery of Pepsi artifacts curated from the Pepsi archives, recreations of famous Pepsi commercial sets, and a dining experience to prove that food is Better With Pepsi. The ongoing celebration of the brand’s 125 years is not only a reflection on history, but a strategic move to propel the brand forward for the next 125 years, with the new brand visual identity at the center of this “pass the baton” moment.”
In some ways that “pass the baton” moment blends the old and new. Today’s TikTok generation might have one frame of reference while the Facebook generation sees the visual in a different light. As seen in the reimagining of the Shaq commercial for the Pepsi mini-cans, that idea of “I Wish” can and should mean something different to everyone.
While the commercial takes its own look at the one size does not fit all idea, the levity in the moment is important. By using one of the most well-known pop culture icons in the spot, it resonates with a large audience. Even if some people might not know the original commercial, it does not matter. People will be engaged.
According to Danzi , “As a brand that celebrates unapologetic enjoyment and consumers who aren’t afraid to reject the expected in order to express themselves, it was a fun juxtaposition to create this new spot – showcasing the Pepsi Min Cans. In reimagining the ‘I Wish’ commercial, with Shaq, the concept shows him in various environments where a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t exactly work. And it’s true — a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for everyone in all walks of life. But we celebrated the idea that Pepsi Mini Cans, despite their smaller size, are perfectly suited for any meal or snack occasion.”
While people may never forget Shaq’s dominating presence in this commercial, it is another example of how the beverage brand has and will continue to use well-known faces alongside their products. Whether it is a look back at all the collaborations through the years or wondering what the future holds, those cans will be held by many people who influence not just the next generation, but also the present one.
Danzi shared, “Pepsi has a long history of partnering with a diverse set of exceptionally talented musicians, actors, models, sports stars and so much more. The brand prides itself for always being on the cutting edge of pop culture, and by leveraging these partnerships, Pepsi has become a symbol of modern-day cultural moments, pioneering innovative marketing approaches (including music video inspired commercials) to stay at the forefront of consumer consciousness and capitalize on consumer engagement.”
Whether it is a mini-can, a 2-Liter bottle, or a refrigerator shelf dedicated to all those regular sized cans, the reality is that Pepsi is and will continue to influence not only the beverage conversation but also the pop culture narrative that impacts people’s food and beverage choices.