Instead of running an in-game spot, Pepsi supports the Super Bowl halftime show

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In the lead-up to the Super Bowl, Pepsi recently unveiled a multi-channel promotion, where the soda maker returns as the name sponsor of the half-time broadcast. The first nationwide TV spot to advertise the live concert, whose main act this year is singer The Weeknd, is the centerpiece of the campaign in an announcement.

The company has launched a special website, PepsiHalftime.com, with behind-the-scenes footage and augmented reality (AR) experience on Instagram, as part of the promotion for Pepsi’s 10th year as the sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show. To see an AR selfie lens in the photo-sharing app, QR codes on the website and specially labeled Pepsi cans can be scanned with a smartphone camera.

Pepsi will debut the TV commercial, dubbed “Your Moment,” during this weekend’s NFL Super Wild Card games, followed by national airings before the Super Bowl, which is scheduled to take place on Feb. 7. According to the announcement, the campaign’s in-store initiative involves point-of-sale displays at supermarket chains including Kroger, 7-Eleven, Target, and Dollar General, among others.

Pepsi is taking a new path to the Super Bowl this year and, for the first time, is running a nationwide TV advertisement advertising its support of the half-time display of the big game over the course of the few weeks leading up to the widely awaited competition rather than buying a 30-second multi-million dollar commercial during the game, per the announcement. As a sponsor of the halftime show, which also attracts millions of audiences on its own, this strategy would help the company to maximize the 12 minutes it already has during the game.

With a multichannel effort that involves activation of Instagram and special packaging of QR codes to enable interactive content, Pepsi goes all-in, strategies that could help it meet younger customers. Through its latest strategy, Pepsi is hoping that it will get more value for its buck by pushing a live TV spectacle at a time when customers are trapped at home because of the current pandemic, which last year led to a dearth of live gigs, tours, and festivals.

Pepsi is among the companies that have devoted themselves to the Super Bowl, which has historically served as the main stage for advertisers, also setting the tone for the remainder of the year for ads. For the second year in a row, Mtn Dew, another beverage brand sold by the parent company PepsiCo, will return to the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, according to a running count gathered, Mars Wrigley’s M&M brand, Kellogg’s Pringles snack brand, Anheuser-Busch, Toyota, and TurboTax are all preparing to air advertisements during the game.

According to Nielsen statistics reported by Sports Media Watch, this year’s big game follows a year of pandemic disruptions and an overall 7 percent average decrease of TV viewership across the regular season. Owing to the health crisis, spectator attendance was reduced, rescheduled games disrupted regular viewing schedules and when most major sports leagues began activities to complete their seasons, the sports calendar became crowded. As leagues work to resume regular schedules this year, the Super Bowl is an opportunity to rebuild the audience for sports programming.

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