Pepsi was challenged with reestablishing its deep-rooted music legacy (“where there is Pepsi there is music”) and heritage among consumers who had either forgotten it or were too young to know about it. Also, its chief competition, Burger King, had taken a strong position in the music space with the sponsorship of a competitive singing competition, “American Idol.”
Competing head to head, Pepsi and its agency, PGW Experience, worked to sponsor “X Factor” and aired a spot which showcased Pepsi music legends such as Michael Jackson and Britney Spears. The goal was to organically connect the brand to the show from the first audition and then build widespread awareness up to the launch and premiere of the Music Legends spot.
They succeeded. Sponsored brand integration resulted in over 750 million consumer impressions from on-site exposure at auditions and during the live show, local and national press coverage, digital and social media, and organic on-air integration of product and Pepsi-branded assets. The X Report was featured on hundreds of high-traffic blogs, online media sites and the shows official website.
The agency started by maximizing Pepsi’s physical presence at auditions and live shows so that the attending media and viewers at home were not only aware of Pepsi’s sponsorship role, but also understood Pepsi’s long-standing music legacy. They then created experiential and on-air opportunities that organically integrated Pepsi into the storyline, making the brand visible throughout the entire show season.
To showcase how each concept would make it on air and be share-worthy for the target audience, a 30-foot tall X was made out of 10,000 Pepsi cans, and was used as an entry check-in point for contestants and fans at each audition and taping. The X was featured in the first five shows. In addition, an interactive viral element was created from the set to foster social sharing, and a calendar of on-air programming and music integration elements was created that built along with the season and played out during the live show escalation.
3D audition photos were taken from a co-branded “Pepsi/X Factor” stage and contestants could immediately share their photos from on-site kiosks. The Pepsi-branded “X Report” video series brought the audition experience to life for remote fans on Facebook and YouTube.
As the show moved to the live format with the Music Legends spot playing during each episode, several on-air promotions encouraged at-home participation, including “Pepsi Choice” and “Pepsi Challenge,” where fans at home could help curate performances and choose the songs each contestant would perform. The Pepsi Sound Off site allowed fans to socially view the show with other fans around the country and integrate socially on-air.