Tuesday
Jan122010

Soft Drink Giant Not Forsaking Football Despite Passing On Super Bowl TV

January 12, 2010: PepsiCo has decided not to advertise its namesake drink during Super Bowl XLIV, choosing instead to focus on such sibling brands as Doritos. But Pepsi, which is the official soft drink partner of the NFL, has not forgotten its sports alliances and is activating behind the limited return of Pepsi Throwback and carving marketing space for its primary brand during such major events as the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, Nascar and NBA All-Star Game.

The first Throwback limited release, which also includes Mountain Dew, was this past summer. The new release came with more marketing with an even more retro-design than the initial products. Pepsi Throwback, "made with real sugar" and available in stores now through Feb. 22, was title sponsor for the Pepsi Throwback Bridge Show on NBC on Jan. 9, which was the lead-out from the New York Jets-Cincinnati Bengals wild card game and the lead-in to the Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys game. The product's limited release coincides with the NFL's 50th anniversary celebration of the American Football League with such support as throwback jerseys, and has been featured in spots during playoff games juxtaposing AFL teams in their past and present incarnations played out to Bob Dylan's "Forever Young."

Pepsi had run ads during telecasts since Super Bowl XXI in 1987. PepsiCo spent almost $142 million from 1999-2008 for Super Bowl ads and about $33 million last February during Super Bowl XLIII on TV spots for Pepsi Max, Gatorade, SoBe, Doritos and Cheetos, according to market research firm TNS Media Intelligence.

Despite the absence of Super Bowl spots for Pepsi, the brand said it would have a strong presence in South Florida during the period when both the Pro Bowl (Jan. 31) and Super Bowl XLIV will be played at Dolphin Stadium, where Pepsi took over pouring rights from Coca-Cola in 2007.

The Pepsi-sponsored NFL Rookie of the Year award will be presented on Feb. 4 in the Miami area. Among the week's schedule, Pepsi is a sponsor of the Taste of the NFL event on Feb. 6; will be title sponsor of the Super Bowl Fan Jam, a free, outdoor live concert and fireworks display on the beach adjacent to the Sheraton Ft. Lauderdale Beach Hotel on Feb. 4 and the Pepsi Musica Fan Jam on Feb. 5. Rihanna is among those scheduled to perform on Feb. 4, with the concert to be televised on VH1; Nelly Furtado is scheduled to headline on Feb. 5, which will be taped for airing the next night on Telemundo.

In addition, Pepsi will offer refreshments at NFL's Game Day Fan Plaza, a fan-centric gathering of league sponsors, interactive events and music adjacent to Dolphin Stadium during both the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl. Siblings Gatorade and Doritos are also among the brands that will be on hand. The event is replacing the long-standing NFL Experience.

Plenty of Pepsi Throwback will be available at these and other events during Pro Bowl-Super Bowl week. But the majority of attention will be given to Pepsi's Project Refresh, through which PepsiCo said it would provide "millions of dollars for ideas to funds that will refresh the world - your ideas." Starting Jan. 13, people are being encouraged to submit ideas in such areas as health and fitness, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods." Beginning Feb. 1, visitors to the Web site then will be asked to decide which ideas get funded. Grants range from $5,000 (up to ten per month) to $250,000 (up to two per month). Full details here.

Pepsi will cover South Florida with such marketing as, "Could a soda really make the world a better place?" and encourage fans and consumers to visit the dedicated Web site to place their votes.

Pepsi replaced Coca-Cola as the NFL's official soft drink in 2002, ending Coke's 22-year reign. However, Coke will have TV spots on CBS during Super Bowl XLIV. And the soft drink rivals will go head-to-head in such upcoming major sports events as the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where Coca-Cola is an official worldwide partner of the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the 2010 Games, but Pepsi has established its presence via such activation as sponsoring Hockey Canada and running TV spots during pre-Olympic events; and Nascar, where Coke has official soft drink status but Pepsi has a strong presence via such events as the Pepsi 400 and driver activations.

The fight also will spill over to the NBA. Coca-Cola's Sprite is the official soft drink of the league, but Pepsi has pouring rights at the new Cowboys Stadium, where the NBA will play its All-Star Game on Feb. 14, in a deal that runs through 2015. The NBA has encountered this before: In 2005, the All-Star Game was played in Denver at the Pepsi Center, and Coke products were not allowed to be sold or displayed during events. So expect Pepsi Throwback to get a big push as it closes in on the last week of its current lifespan.

NFL Unveils Plans For Pro Bowl/Super Bowl Fan Plaza

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