Pepsi leveraged Rap Viet, a Vietnamese talent-seeking rap competition, to generate awareness of its zero-calorie beverage among generation Z consumers.
For years, Pepsi attempted to bolster its brand image among younger consumers through its partnerships with top music stars. However, in 2020, people were more likely to stay home, leading many artists to shift to reality music shows. With the launch of Pepsi Zero Calories, the brand wanted to find an effective way to connect with generation Z consumers.
Pepsi's main target audience was generation Z consumers, a digitally native cohort. Pepsi decided to leverage Rap Viet to win the hearts and minds of this audience, leaning on an insight from a Novaon Communications 2020 survey where 82.9 percent of respondents identified rap as the trending genre of the year. This was especially true among generation Z.
By sponsoring Rap Viet, Pepsi's wanted to win over consumers' hearts and minds by leveraging three elements: music, audience, and choice.
Bold music: The Pepsi Zero Calories campaign needed a new variant to refresh its long-standing association with music. The brand needed something uncommercialized, authentic, and different. Pepsi landed on rap music as its solution, as the boldness associated with the genre represents the exact characteristics Pepsi Zero Calories was striving to embody.
For the campaign, the company targeted young consumers with strong personalities, wanting to break through and express their own bold ego. Pepsi needed an innovative approach to pioneer a new trend. For the first time, the brand created a rap music show, bringing underground culture to popular TV and digital channels.
Pepsi has always attempted to bolster brand image among younger consumers through music. The brand leveraged rap music to engage generation Z, as the genre's boldness represented the generation's boldness.
Overall Campaign Execution:
To maximize awareness of Pepsi's Rap Viet sponsorship, the company leveraged product placements and the campaign's key slogan, "Pepsi No Sugar, No Regret, Live life to the Fullest," into every aspect of the event, including the competition challenges, candidates' performance, and quotes from emcees and coaches. After the show, Pepsi maintained momentum by collaborating with local brands to release a new fashion collection, launching the "Pepsi is the New Black" collection at Aquafina Vietnam International Fashion Week.
Pepsi made a massive investment in TV and digital to drive awareness. However, by leveraging the hype of Rap Viet on TV, Pepsi was able to run a product launch campaign that reached a sufficient amount of viewers without TV investment. Therefore, Pepsi shifted its budget to digital, delegating much of this ad spend on mobile, where its target audience was most present. All assets were designed with mobile-first principles in mind.
Pepsi also partnered with top ecommerce sites like Lazada and Tiki to tap into their "12.12" campaigns — the last online sale of the year — and sell its limited-edition merchandise during Pepsi x Vietnam International Fashion week.
Pepsi's objective was to generate excitement around Pepsi Zero Calories and stay top-of-mind within the cola segment.
Pepsi's sponsorship of Rap Viet generated two billion views across digital platforms and broke the concurrent users record for a TV show with a total 791,210 of these viewers. Furthermore, over 1,500 articles were written about the initiative, with more than $500,000 in value earned on local sites.
Over the course of the two-month launch, Pepsi Zero Calories became No.1 in the zero calories segment. The campaign also grew the non-sugar cola segment by 60 percent, with Pepsi accounting for 48 percent. Pepsi achieved 159 percent more awareness than its original object, earning a market share increase of 2.7 points.