With a huge cache of celebrities under its belt, Pepsi has been credited with some of the most interesting commercials to be aired on television. With big names like Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Sachin Tendulkar and many others, the celebrity baggage is quite heavy for the brand. In this advertisement-centric category, cola players are targetting the youth who need a ‘Cool’ person to associate with.
PepsiCo India Executive Director-Marketing Punita Lal agreed that the ‘Cool’ factor is quite significant while considering a celebrity to endorse the brand. Elaborating on the parameters based on which Pepsi signs a celebrity, she explained, “We look at a couple of issues before embarking on the association. Firstly, we look at what does the celebrity stand for. Secondly, we contemplate on what does the brand stand for. We then look at what the celebrity will be adding to our existing celebrity portfolio as we don’t want exactly the same kind of celebrities.”
“I want the celebrities to represent the true colours of the brand personality. I always want them to be young, contemporary, dynamic and passionate. Those are the qualities what we look for in every celebrity,” Lal added.
Lal pointed out that Pepsi does not sign a celebrity if it appears that the brand is becoming secondary to the celebrity. She observed, “We don’t want brand ambassadors who say ‘I use this brand’. We want a fit between them and the brand. Moreover, the brand will always be equal to the celebrity.”
About the way of selection of a particular celebrity for any particular campaign, Lal explained, “The fit and need of the campaign is our top priority and we choose the best match. If we want someone with mass or niche appeal or if we want more humour, we select according to what they represent as celebrities, as they are brands by themselves, i.e., they themselves stand for something.”
While commenting on the various associations that Pepsi has forged with numerous events, Lal believes that it is all about whether the partnership works. She added, “When you partner an event, it must be a win-win situation. It’s like a good bargain and both parties should feel that they have got something out of it.”
Even with its recent ‘Blue Billion’ campaign, the brand is planning to get its cards right. This time around, the brand believes in having a confluence of Bollywood and cricket celebrities along with their fans. Pepsi has been relying on celebrity endorsements for quite some time now, and it believes that this tool would continue to deliver the desired results for them.