How Pepsi continues to stay relevant and connect with every generation
We look at some of Pepsi's iconic ads and talk about its recent campaign
From Dil Maange More to Har Ghoont Mein Swag, here's how Pepsi's communication has evolved over the years

How Pepsi continues to stay relevant and connect with every generation

From Dil Maange More to Har Ghoont Mein Swag, here's how Pepsi's communication has evolved over the years
  • Over the years, Pepsi has gone through several brand transformations to stay relevant.
  • We try to dissect GenZ and Millennials’ behaviour with a brand that has catered to young generations since its inception.
North-American beverage and snacks maker PepsiCo started its operations in India in 1989. Since then, many companies have launched in India. A few evolved with the changing tides and some failed to keep up with the curveballs in the shape of competition, macro-economic factors, technology and the ever-changing consumer behaviour and eventually, withered away. So, what has helped a traditional multi-corporation like PepsiCo and its flagship brand Pepsi avoid aging and stay young in a volatile environment? Clever advertising and marketing techniques.

“The brand has always had its finger on the pulse of pop culture, and in turn, appealed to today’s generation through content which is relatable to them. Extensive consumer research over the years has helped us stay ahead of the curve and tell stories that resonate with them - whether it is through Bollywood, music or cricket. We have focused on creating engaging and relatable content for consumers around these passion points as we truly believe it is about creating content which they can interact with,” said a PepsiCo India spokesperson.

Today, Pepsi is known as a brand that celebrates the sizzling swag of India’s youth. It reflects how GenZ and Millennials are armed with self-belief and confidence.

Pepsi has gone through several brand transformations. Its iconic Dil Maange More where the cricketers would quench their thirst with a cool can or a young Shahid Kapoor or Shahrukh Khan would request for just one more sip of Pepsi won our hearts in the late 90s. Dil Maange More campaign also featured Rani Mukherjee, Kajol, Preity Zinta.

Another catchy but short-lived campaign that Pepsi came up with, in 2006 was ‘Oye Bubbly,’ which was also conceptualised by JWT.

In 2013, Pepsi changed its tagline to ‘Live it Abhi’ to encourage the youth to live in the moment. It featured Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli.

The tagline was tweaked to ‘Oh Yes Abhi!’ to represent the young, impatient audience, who believe in taking an action ‘now.’ It onboarded Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Mahendra Singh Dhoni to revamp its proposition.

In 2017, Pepsi changed its tagline to ‘Socha nahi ji gaya, Pepsi thi pi gaya.’(Didn’t think as I lived the moment, there was Pepsi so I drank it).

Pepsi’s summer bottle during this campaign was packed with a few popular words that the millennials used then such as #Swag, #Aande, #Bajao, #Boldaal, #Muah, #Fastforward, #Gatecrash, #Bawaal, #Kalti, #Wingit, #Panga, #Gocray and cuts across most Indian languages with expressions like #Joot, #Dhool, #Semma, #Takkaru, #Gethu and #Jollu in Tamil, #Flat, #Fatafati, etc.

How Pepsi continues to stay relevant and connect with every generation

How Pepsi continues to stay relevant and connect with every generation

Pepsi’s campaigns are known for its star-studded ensemble cast. It has tried to feature country’s most-sought-after youth icons over the years. It also changes its packaging to reflect the pulse of the country.

From changing its typography from minimalism to elaborate, in the last year, the brand has changed its marketing efforts to position itself as a ‘cool’ brand that drips swagger in every drop

Under its latest campaign, Pepsi has worked with Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani, Badshah and most recently Salman Khan. It has also tweaked its packaging to connect with younger generations by incorporating its tagline ‘Har Ghoont Mein Swag.’

How Pepsi continues to stay relevant and connect with every generation

With summer approaching in different parts of our country, Pepsi launched a new campaign with brand ambassador Salman Khan.

On what inspired the brand to onboard Khan as its brand ambassador, the spokesperson said, “Salman Khan’s effortlessly cool attitude enables today’s generation to relate with him strongly and he resonates with the word, SWAG, in a way no one else can. He is known to have a strong connect across generations and genders, and his popularity, mass appeal and connect with the Indian audiences make him an ideal fit for a brand like Pepsi.”

Understanding GenZ and Millennials

GenZ is said to have the attention span of a gnat, which is less than 8 seconds and Millennials have an attention span of goldfish. At the same time, they are becoming more aware of how advertising works and are able to separate grey from black. India also has the largest population of young people, making them an important target group for marketers. So, we asked Pepsi about the youth’s behaviour and what are some of the things that they expect from brands today.

“In today's day and age, consumers expect their favorite brands to engage with them through meaningful experiences across different digital touchpoints. They no longer just want to buy things today but instead want to want to be associated with a brand’s identity - they want inspiration, emotion, drama, and an overall feel-good experience. Simply put, consumers want to step away from an interaction with a brand, feeling like they have gained something. It is no longer about a one-way presentation of the brand’s core product offering but more about the dialogue that a brand can start and the emotions it can evoke. Brands which keep these factors in mind while communicating with consumers are more likely to receive higher consumer attention and engagement,” said the PepsiCo India spokesperson.

The brand also keeps a close eye on social media trends.

“Another important aspect which has helped us connect deeply with consumers is moment marketing. Today’s generation appreciates when brands share topical content and that is why we have an ‘Always On’ social media strategy for Pepsi. Lastly, apart from topical content, we also identify hero moments at the beginning of the year which we would like to leverage, which are usually tied in with our campaign for the year,” shared the spokesperson.

Getting back to normal

After going through a dry spell last year due to the lockdown, Pepsi has seen its demand picking up in the last few months.

“As people adapt to the new normal and step out of their homes, we are slowly seeing positive sale movements from dormant segments. We are looking forward to the recovery and the return of pre-covid trends, especially as the summer season approaches. The demand has been robust in the last few months and to improve it further, we implemented strategies like the introduction of friendship packs that helped consumers who were looking for convenient options for at-home consumption, mainly in urban markets. In fact, At-home demand for beverages was leading the recovery trend over the last few months and we are hopeful that it is only bound to scale up. Moving forward, convenience will continue to be driving factors as we ensure both large and small packs of products across our categories are always available to suit various occasions and consumers across the country,” said the spokesperson.

During the lockdown, Pepsi also shifted its marketing monnies to digital media and is now slowly getting back to its 360-degree approach. The cola brand has constantly reinvented itself to create experiences that connect with consumer passions, be it Bollywood, Music or Sports and this year, it would continue to focus on the same areas.

Sharing some of the focus areas for this year, PepsiCo’s spokesperson said, “Driving consumer awareness and engagement through effective advertising has always been our priority. In 2020, we launched digital-first campaigns given online content consumption was at an all-time high. This year, with the external environment slowly opening up, our intent is to elevate our marketing game a notch higher to create a 360-degree surround. We will be pivoting our brand communication across mass pillars of choice like entertainment, sports, music and gaming through multiple mediums to reach consumers across the country. While we shall continue to leverage digital platforms, we shall also leverage other mediums especially TV and outdoor as they are gaining prominence.”