Same insight, different output: how Pepsi is localising content ideas

Pepsi says insights can be global but local relevance creates success

Brands are now creating as much content as any publisher but without having consumers interests in mind, it can be a fruitless investment.

For multinational brands, where the pressure to deliver relevance across multiple markets is high, this challenge (and opportunity) is amplified. Speaking at Ad:Tech in New Delhi this week, Pepsico global head of media and content innovation CoE, Atin Kulkarni, said his brands regularly use a strategy that involves focusing on a global insight that is delivered using local, relevant stories.

Kulkarni gave the example of its recent, well known ‘Generations’ campaign for Superbowl which used the insight that Pepsi has been a drink that has been with its customers across generations. The US version of this insight saw the brand refresh old campaigns that tied into key popular culture moments, reminding people of this link.

This insight was then taken to another, vastly different but important Pepsi market, Saudi Arabia. The theme around ‘generations’ was revisited, but instead of tying into pop culture, Pepsi decided that nodding to the change that the Saudi population is going through would connect with its target audience instead.

The recently released campaign follows Saudi men as they get ready for success at the start of a day, it shifts through different men from different generations. In a nod to the change in the country it then also shifts to include women within the story too. Once again the message ties to the insight that Pepsi is along for the ride, across generations.

“When we took it to Saudi Arabia, we used the same insight - that we have been part of the generations. The country is going through somewhat of a change, geopolitical, oil prices and a new Prince with a new vision. We have been part of their lives and been part of society, including when this new generation comes along and the new vision comes along. It is the same idea but a very different context in the life of a nation that is going through a lot of change,” explained Kulkarni.

Kulkarni shared that the film went viral, despite a shift in the strategy around media spend for the content. He said the spend on TV for the ad was significantly dialled down and, with reference to its focus on a ‘new generation’ and change in the country, it instead moved media spend to new channels and digital placements, including the use of influencers.

“Practically speaking, this also impacted how we managed media and delivered the content. We used both TV and digital but in this case the team took a risk in how it planned TV. Rather than putting almost everything on TV, they dialled it down, used all the other modern ways, such as influencers and interesting platforms because it was the best way to leverage this insight,” he added.

According to Kulkarni, the campaign delivered over 4 billion impressions, which he said was a significant level of reach for a campaign in the region. This success, he reasons, was due to the relevance of the ad. “It resonated with what the people were thinking and what they were going through,” he said.

Managing content-led campaigns across multiple markets and cultures is a significant challenge for brands currently and the response varies across different brands and briefs. A campaign launched this week by rival Coca-Cola approached the challenge differently, by taking a neutral geographic approach to working with partners and encouraging diversity in casting.

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