Modern Marketing Brand Strategy News

Pepsi’s formula to empower singletons this Valentine’s Day and beyond


By Amit Bapna | Editor-at-large

February 12, 2022 | 5 min read

The Drum speaks to Saumya Rathor, category lead, Cola, PepsiCo India about what gives the leading beverage brand the confidence to continue with the counter-intuitive ‘single’ narrative around Valentine’s Day in its third year.

Pepsi continues with its swag strategy

Pepsi continues with its swag strategy in India

Continuing with its ongoing Valentine’s Day narrative, Pepsi this year also encourages its consumers to own their singlehood with the brand’s customary swag. To mark the occasion, the beverage brand unveiled a limited edition set of ‘Swag Se Solo’ cans to give its consumers the chance to carry their singleton status in their hands.

The recipe behind going solo

In a world marked by players like Tinder, Bumble, and more, with ample opportunities for people to date and mate, Pepsi had launched its positioning of ‘swag se single’ in 2020.

Shares Saumya Rathor, category lead, Cola, PepsiCo India, “Consumer insight in 2020 reflected that at least seven out of 10 Indian men in the age group of 15-30 years are single.”

What was more interesting is that the youth does not shy away from embracing their relationship status as they are effortless, armed with self-belief, she adds.

The ‘swag se solo’ positioning is aimed at helping the youth to believe that their worth is not defined by their relationship status and urges them to have a relationship with themselves that is filled with self-confidence, unshakeable self-belief, and irrefutable swag, adds Rathor.

The singles’ story in a can, since 2020

Backed by the emerging consumer insight, Pepsi launched its ‘swag se solo’ philosophy as an overarching theme for all its campaigns in 2020. Popular film star Salman Khan was onboarded as the ambassador for the beverage brand and the brand anthem was launched then, shares Rathor.

The brand wanted to speak to Gen-Z in the language they understand - music, which was coupled with interactive content creating filters across social media platforms to introduce the swag step challenge, she adds.

Carrying it forward, this year the brand has launched the campaign with Khan urging youngsters to fall in love and make a commitment to themselves by taking themselves out for dinner, eating their favorite dish, and buying flowers/ chocolates for themselves. The brand campaign has been co-created by Wunderman Thompson and Autumn Grey.

To give the single-status additional leg, the limited-edition Pepsi cans are available across select retail stores and e-commerce channels.

Creative brief: empower the singles on their relationship status

For the last few years, the way brands are engaging with their consumers has seen a tumultuous shift and it has become imperative to focus on what ticks the individual, whether it is entertainment, fashion, or music. Brands also need to do the same to remain relevant to the ever-changing audience set.

To forge a deeper connection with new and existing audiences, Pepsi, wanted to become the voice of the new generation by disrupting stereotypes that put singletons under a spotlight, rising above the clutter, says Rathor. Ahead of Valentine’s Day, the brand wanted to rejoice in the unabashed confidence of the Indian youth and encourage them to unapologetically embrace their relationship status.

The creative brief thus was also one around its ongoing philosophy, adds Rathor, “being a catalyst of cultural change by constantly listening to consumers.”

2022 film

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