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Pepsi goes all in on TikTok for its Champions League Final kick-off

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By Hannah Bowler | Senior Reporter

March 20, 2023 | 6 min read

Senior Pepsi marketer reveals “comprehensive” TikTok activation for upcoming kick-off show.

Pepsi took to TikTok to unveil its UEFA kick off line up

Pepsi took to TikTok to unveil its Uefa kick-off line up / Pepsi TikTok

For Pepsi’s seventh Uefa Champions League Final kick-off show, it has launched a three-month fan engagement TikTok campaign and will be broadcasting live from the platform.

It’s the first time in Pepsi’s Uefa partnership that TikTok will be the primary media channel for the event.

The performance on June 10 is headlined by Burna Boy with other acts to be announced nearer the time. Burna Boy took to TikTok to reveal the partnership and put out a call to fans to submit their dance moves or football skills on TikTok with the #PepsiKickOffShow. Leo Messi, Vini Jr and women’s footballer Leah Williamson will also be part of the content campaign.

@burnaboyofficial Big news! I'm going to be performing at the UEFA @championsleague Final in Istanbul, alongside another fantastic headliner, and I want you to join me. Search #PepsiKickOffShow to get involved. #UCL @PepsiMAXUK @l6williamson @vinijr. 18+ only. Enter by 13:00 GMT, 03/04/23. T&Cs apply, open to residents of specific countries only. Head to @PepsiGlobal for full T&C #Ad ♬ It’s Plenty (#PepsiKickOffShow) - Burna Boy

Pepsi’s senior director of global marketing, Gustavo Reyna, said the brand has seen the challenge trend on TikTok become a “big thing” and, as Reyna explains, Pepsi “always tries to stay close to consumers”. In the last six years of partnering with Uefa, Pepsi has run the campaign for three or five weeks but 2023 will be a three-month activation starting with a “comprehensive fan engagement program”.

Reyna says the TikTok challenge is “giving fans a window and a completely new way of encouraging fans to showcase their talent”.

But Pepsi’s doubling down on TikTok comes amid growing concerns over the future of the platform. The platform has already been restricted from government devices in the US, EU and Canada, and the UK is now set to implement a similar ban.

But Reyna dismissed concerns.

“Pepsi is a fun brand and a brand that has been providing entertaining experiences forever, and we’re going to keep doing that irrespective of the media channel,” he told The Drum. “As long as we keep doing what we’re doing and using media in the right way and according to policies and regulations then that’s absolutely fine.”

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Brands like Samsung, Mercedes, KFC, EE, Uber and The North Face are among the UK’s top TikTok spenders although it's unknown who has pulled back or continued investing in the platform.

In its seventh year, Pespi’s kick-off show, formally known as the Uefa Champions League Opening Ceremony, is still a pivotal part of its football and entertainment strategy, Reyna explains. “The way we look at the kick-off show is that moment that really enhances or elevates the overall fan experience. It builds up more and more excitement right before the whistle is blown,” he says.

Pepsi will also be using the event to amplify its recently launched ‘Thirsty for More’ brand platform. “‘Thirsty for More’ speaks to people that want to indulge in life’s experiences and to have more fun moments in their everyday lives. And that is exactly what the kick-off show is doing this year,” Reyna concludes.

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