Our social content plan doesn’t just stop at doing hygiene posts: Raj Rishi Singh, PepsiCo India

Raj Rishi Singh

Raj Rishi Singh, Director, Marketing, Pepsi, PepsiCo sheds light on Pepsi’s marketing strategy and journey over the years.

From Aila Sachin to Kyun Sookhe Sookh He, Pepsi India has had a rather eventful marketing journey. While the latter features the cast of Fukrey 2, Kyun Sookhe Sookhe has an active IPL leg on social media.

Social Samosa gets in conversation with Raj Rishi Singh, Director, Marketing, Pepsi, PepsiCo India to understand the brand’s perspective on sports marketing, Pepsi’s marketing strategy, and more.

Excerpts below:

Let’s begin with the latest campaign. What’s the idea behind Pepsi’s “Kyun Sookhe Sookhe Hi” campaign? 

For over two decades, Pepsi has had a finger on the pulse of today’s generation. The brand has constantly innovated and reinvented itself to strengthen its position in the hearts and minds of the country’s millennials.

Our marquee summer campaign, ‘Kyun Sookhe Sookhe Hi’ builds on the seamless, complementary association between friends, food and Pepsi. It brings Pepsi to the forefront of all fun consumption occasions and celebrates the trio of friends, food and Pepsi by elevating the fun & food occasions.

The creative expression of ‘Kyun Sookhe Sookhe Hi’ once again reflects the new age culture and lingo in a very colloquially street way, a style which has become Pepsi’s hallmark.

Why cast the Fukrey Returns trio? How did it work out for the brand? 

The three actors in the TVC – Pulit Samrat, Varun Sharma and Manjot Singh – are known for both their on screen and off-screen camaraderie. The Fukrey boys are synonymous with friendship and their easy-going chemistry resonated well with the idea of our TVC. They helped bring alive the brand’s cool quotient and instantly connected with BFFs everywhere. The campaign showcases the bromance between the three and highlights how best friends can go to any length for each other.

This campaign coincides with the beginning of IPL. From the ‘Aila Sachin’ campaign to “Kyun Sookhe Sookhe Hi”, how has the brand’s approach towards cricket for marketing evolved? 

The brand has constantly innovated and reinvented itself to strengthen its position in the hearts and minds of the country’s millennials. For us, the idea or the concept is always at the core of any campaign. From ‘Pepsi Thi Pi Gaya’ to the ‘Moments’ campaign, we have always focused on key consumer demand moments. ‘Kyun Sookhe Sookhe Hi’ campaign is our marquee summer campaign for this year and drives home the fact that just like life is incomplete without friends, food is incomplete without Pepsi.

‘Kyun Sookhe Sookhe Hi’ brings Pepsi to the forefront of all fun consumption occasions and celebrates the trio of friends, food and Pepsi by elevating the fun & food occasions.

Pepsi has had few of the most famous brand ambassadors, including SRK, Ranbir Kapoor, and Aamir Khan. How do you think the role of brand ambassadors changed in the day and age of influencer marketing and digital consumers? Do you think the generation with major purchase power and intent agrees with celebrities anymore? 

Pepsi has always innovated and conceptualized new ways to connect with consumers in contextually relevant ways. Marketing is evolving as are celebrity endorsements. With the advent of social media, consumers have an easy access to follow their favourite celebrities and know more about them. Hence, our focus now is on telling the brand’s story in the best possible manner, if a certain story requires a celebrity to tell it, then of course that is the route we will take.

For example, for Pepsi ‘Kyun Sookhe Sookhe Hi’, we wanted to celebrate the inherent association of friends, food and Pepsi. The three Fukrey actors were the perfect fit for this since they are known both on-screen and off-screen for their easy camaraderie and their relationship was already established in minds of our consumers. Hence, we chose them to feature in our campaign.

What kind of a role does social media play in Pepsi’s marketing mix? How big is the BIG idea for Pepsi, when it comes to social media marketing? 

When a brand is trying to communicate with the consumers, social media plays a pivotal role in building a connect with the millennials and Pepsi as a brand focuses on millennials as their target audience. Social media when used as a marketing tool increases brand awareness and helps build a brand recall. When executed efficiently, social media tells consumers that their brand is active and focuses on thriving communication with consumers.

One social media campaign that worked wonders for Pepsi, and why? 

All campaigns have done well on social media for several reasons. But we have learnt that content for social media must be tailored to suit the online audience’s tastes – there is no one size that fits all as far as social media marketing goes. We try and customize our content for social media as much as possible and that is where the success of the campaign comes from.

While all campaigns have done wonders for us, the one that really strikes out is the Pepsi moments campaign – 6sec stories. It was a campaign to celebrate various moments of spontaneity, the word which defines the Pepsi generation. To promote the words and to make our TG use them in their daily language, we rolled out a series of videos on our social platforms. Not one. Not two. But 40 of them! Given our audience’s short attention span(less than 10sec), we devised a mechanism to narrate insightful stories in 6secs. In just two months the campaign received 25M views and it engaged over 5.5M fans across social media, averaging a reach of 1M and average engagement of 2,20,000 per video.

How does PepsiCo align itself with new age marketing concepts such as influencer marketing, AI, VI, and more? Please share a few examples 

Pepsi has always communicated with its consumers in a contextually relevant manner and new age marketing tools such as Influencer marketing, artificial intelligence and visual identity marketingare slowly emerging to the forefront.

For example, to communicate with consumers in contextually relevant ways for ‘Kyun Sookhe Sookhe Hi’, we leveraged Google’s dynamic advertising tool Director Mix to create custom video ads from one core creative, turning consumer’s attention into action. Additionally, for the launch of Pepsi Black in India, we activated a pool of social media influencers to help us generate online visibility for the product.

While Pepsi’s social media tone and personality is fun, witty, and trending, the posts are far and scattered. What is the idea behind this? Please take us through your social content plan

The social content plan doesn’t just stop at doing hygiene posts but taking a witty stand on an ongoing trend. The reason why our posting is perceived to be far and scattered is because we don’t want to overwhelm/spam the user with posts every day. Establishing this, every year Pepsi has a different social strategy, while last year our hero platform was Facebook, this year it is YouTube where we are doing contextual pre-rolls that cater to a plethora of interests that our Pepsi generation breathes on.

Lastly, what are the parameters of ROI measurement for an average Pepsi campaign?

Brand love and recall has always been our primary focus for any campaigns that we envisage for Pepsi. Once we hit the right pulse, rest of the KPI’s like Reach and Engagement are easily achieved.