Pepsi unveils global ‘football super squad’ brand ambassador lineup

Pepsi has announced a global brand ambassador 19-strong “football super squad” for 2014 as it looks to take the fizz out of rival Coca-Cola’s football marketing in the World Cup year.

Pepsi squad
Pepsi unveiled a ‘global football super squad’ brand ambassador lineup for 2014 today (16 January)

Longstanding Pepsi brand ambassadors, Argentinian striker Leo Messi and England midfielder Jack Wilshere will be joined by Manchester City star Sergio Aguero, Brazillian defender David Luiz, the Manchester United forward Robin van Persie and Spain’s Sergio Ramos as part of the global lineup.

An additional 13 footballers, including Manchester City captain and Belgian international Vincent Kompany, United States captain Clint Dempsey and German striker Mario Gomez are also joining the lineup to appear in local campaigns representing their home countries.

The 19 players revealed their place on the “Pepsi squad” on social media today (16 January), kicking off a series of year-long Pepsi football activity.

Later this year a global TV campaign will launch featuring all the ambassadors, while special commemorative packaging will start appearing across retail in March. Pepsi also promises integrations of the campaign within music, art, digital and interactive experiences as well as “additional special products” to be unveiled throughout the year.

Kristin Patrick, Pepsi global chief marketing officer, says: “Pepsi has had a tremendous relationship with football, going back nearly 15 years. For this, our latest incarnation, we’ve brought together our most impressive Pepsi football roster yet, comprised of players who truly embody our brand spirit and excite and electrify us every time they step on the pitch.”

In the UK, only non-sugar Pepsi brands have appeared in above the line marketing since 2005. Pepsi Max is set to feature the ambassadors in a multi-channel marketing campaign across limited edition packing, point of sale, outdoor and digital in the coming months.

Sebastian Micozzi, UK head of marketing for PepsiCo beverages, says: “Football is such a passion point for our brand and our consumers. It is one of the many ways we celebrate Pepsi’s Live for Now ethos. The line-up of players involved in this new campaign is truly unrivalled and shows how passionate and committed we are to growing our longstanding association with global football.”

Pepsi will be hoping the campaign will take some of the edge from official Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup partner Coca-Cola’s marketing activity, details of which have yet to be announced.

The latest Britvic Soft Drinks report revealed Pepsi outperformed Coke in terms of sales growth in the grocery, convenience and impulse market in 2012 – despite Coca-Cola’s investment in advertising to support its London 2012 Olympic sponsorship that year.

By pulling an entire “squad” of players to act as brand ambassadors the Pepsi campaign is similar to activity launched by Samsung last year. The electronics giant began its “Galaxy 11” campaign in earnest on 21 October and has since drawn together a roster of football ambassadors including Leo Messi, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney and Nigerian international Victor Moses, who also features in the Pepsi lineup. 

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