Pepsi Events Get Football Fans Hyped for Halftime
Pepsi took its sponsorship of the biggest media event of the year, the Super Bowl halftime show, and set out to make it bigger by using a series of events to build excitement around the show and make it the most viewed television event in history. Goals like that can make your event a winner—achieving it like Pepsi did makes you a legend.
Get Hyped for Halftime shrewdly tapped into one of the hottest trends in event marketing: taking gigantic cultural events and anchoring them to hyper-local activations. “Taking global local” brought this show into the homes of fans long before the big game was on their TVs.
This was the definition of ambition. PepsiCo is never one for halfway measures and its sponsorship of the Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show featuring Bruno Mars was not going to be anything less than spectacular. But an epic-style live show is only as good as its audience, and the Pepsi knew that that audience needed to be bigger than any other—ever.
It all began with a concept: flood the country with amazing experiences and event activations that would either unexpectedly “halftime” a key moment in a consumer’s day, or help fans “get hyped” for the Super Bowl performance with an incredible public happening.
The brand got started months ahead of time by “halftiming” large and small events, from the GRAMMY Awards to a retirement home BINGO night. The real hyping got started in a truly unlikely place, however: Milligan, NE. The brand transformed this tiny town into a fan destination overnight, surprising and delighting locals all over the state. On a Thursday morning one week, residents suddenly found Pepsi vending machines all over the town. Each one gave out free sodas and every can had a teaser sticker hinting at some secret event on that Saturday night. The word spread. Local radio and news grabbed the story quick, but national media was gobbling it up almost as fast, while word of mouth ran like wildfire from person to person all over the Midwest. By event night, hundreds of people were gathered in the center of town on nothing but a hunch that something cool was about to happen. When the lights went out on Main Street, the crowd held its breath. When Lee Brice took the stage, the crowd went nuts. And Pepsi did three of these, getting bigger each time.
The campaign helped drive awareness for what became the most-viewed Super Bowl Halftime Show of all time, which would have been enough for some brands, but Pepsi also scored 300 million media impressions, 12,000 on-site engagements and a viral YouTube video with more than 1.2 million views. Now that hits the spot.