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Marketing Brand Strategy Pepsi

Pepsi and Frito-Lay tap Messi and Hernández to offer Uefa fans ‘the perfect match’

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By Webb Wright | NY reporter

April 5, 2023 | 4 min read

The two PepsiCo-owned brands continue their long-running push into sports marketing with new sweepstakes – offering fans the chance to win tickets to the UCL Final in Istanbul.

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Lionel Messi is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world. / PepsiCo

PepsiCo brands Pepsi and Frito-Lay have teamed up with global soccer icons Lionel Messi and Javier ’Chicharito’ Hernández for a new retail and sweepstakes campaign, which will culminate in two US fans winning tickets to the Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) Champions League (or UCL) Final in Istanbul on June 10.

The campaign is titled ‘The Perfect Match,’ which appears to be a play on words alluding to both the championship game and also the pairing of Pepsi sodas with Frito-Lay snacks.

Launching today, it begins with limited-edition packaging, featuring the UCL logo and Messi’s internationally recognizable face. He was captain of the Argentinian national team, which won the Fifa World Cup earlier this year, and is widely considered to be one of the best (if not the best) players of all time – on select Pepsi and Frito-Lay products.

A few products of Rockstar Energy, a PepsiCo-owned energy drink brand, will also be outfitted with the new packaging. The new campaign’s retail component also includes in-store advertisements (at participating retail outlets, including Albertsons and Walmart) emblazoned with the image of Hernández, a Mexican professional soccer player who currently plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The limited-edition product packaging and the in-store ads also include a QR code that links fans to the campaign’s website.

Pepsi, the sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show from 2012 through 2022, is sponsoring the 2023 Uefa Champions League Final Kick Off Show on June 10, which will include a performance by the Nigerian singer Burna Boy.

“[Pepsi’s] ongoing partnership with Uefa aims to bring US soccer fans closer to the athletes and game they love,” says Esperanza Teasdale, the multicultural vice-president and general manager at PepsiCo. ”’The Perfect Match’ sweepstakes harnesses the combined power of Uefa and PepsiCo’s iconic brands with star talent our consumers connect with. Our goal is to celebrate these fans, particularly our Hispanic cohort, in knowing that they make up much of soccer’s massive global audience, one that is on the rise in the US.”

In addition to a ticket to the UCL Final, the two winners of the ‘The Perfect Match’ sweepstakes will also receive UCL-branded merch.

Both Pepsi and Frito-Lay have long invested in sports marketing. In January, for example, the brands released a collaborative TV spot ahead of the Super Bowl; like the new campaign, the January ad sought to create a tight association between Pepsi and Frito-Lay products. In early March, Messi starred in an ad for Lay’s (a Frito-Lay-owned brand). Later that month, Pepsi launched a US-specific TV and digital ad campaign called ‘Mejor con Pepsi’ (‘Better with Pepsi‘), featuring ads starring Hernández.

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Marketing Brand Strategy Pepsi

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