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PURCHASE, N.Y. -- PepsiCo Inc. is turning its attention back to soda. The snack-food and beverage giant is launching its first new advertising campaign for Pepsi-Cola in three years, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The move is one of the most visible signs PepsiCo is throwing new weight behind its biggest brand after it sank to No. 3 in U.S. soda sales last year, trailing not only Coke but also Diet Coke.
With summer in full swing, many Pepsi bottlers, who rely on soda for much of their profit, are anxious for the new campaign to get off the ground. "Would I have liked to have it 30 days ago? Yes," said Keith Reimer, chief executive of Pepsi Bottling Ventures LLC, who said he is excited PepsiCo is putting more money again behind cola.
The company is launching the new ad campaign with a spot called "Summer Time Is Pepsi Time" that features Santa on vacation. Just last week, PepsiCo was still racing to ready the "Summer Time Is Pepsi Time'' campaign, according to people close to the company.
When industry market share numbers came out in March, showing Pepsi-Cola had slipped to No. 3, analysts quickly accused PepsiCo -- and its Chairman and Chief Executive Indra Nooyi -- of taking their eyes off the company's biggest brand, according to the newspaper.
Now, PepsiCo said it plans to spend about 30 percent more this year on TV advertising for its North American beverages, with soda a big focus. In addition to the summer ad campaign, Pepsi will be hawked on Simon Cowell's "X Factor'' in a $60 million sponsorship deal starting this fall.
The company also recently launched new TV ads for Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max, two of its smaller-selling colas.