Brand Innovation Summit

Pepsi Still Moving Ahead With Plans For Super Bowl LV Halftime Show

By Tyler Everett

Pepsi Head of Sports Marketing Justin Toman reflected on the pandemic’s impact on his company during the virtual Intersport Brand Innovation Summit yesterday, and shed some light on the soft drink brand's strategy around Super Bowl LV. When asked whether the game taking place in Tampa, with or without fans, would guarantee a halftime performance, which Pepsi sponsors, Toman said, “We believe if there is a game, even if there's not a game, candidly, there will be an appetite by about a 100 million or so of our closest friends to want to see something. And so I think the halftime has typically provided that just mass entertainment vehicle, mass engagement vehicle.” Regarding the game itself, he added, “I would say our Super Bowl planning is actually right where it should be. Normally we have a single path that we're pursuing, and we're at the same point, except we have now multiple paths, right? You just have to have more scenarios.”

Quick Hits:

*On Pepsi’s new approach to sponsorship contracts: “Unfortunately we have had to become experts in contractual language, in force majeure, and renegotiation. I mean, it sounds weird to say, but there is a tremendous amount of innovation in that in terms of how we deal with these conversations, what principles we use to deal with them, the frameworks that we employ. So there has been that. And then going forward, there's a tremendous amount of, I'll call it contractual innovation, right?”

*On spending during the pandemic: “We've pulled back spending, as most consumer products and most companies have, to deal with this in this fiscal year in terms of marketing, advertising. But the one area we haven't pulled back, honestly, is research, right? ... I've probably signed more contracts in the last six months for (fan) research and insights than I have in the last two years combined.”

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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