Led the "Beyoncé "album cycle buzz months before the singer herself ever confirmed it with Pepsi-exclusive video for “Grown Woman”
Pepsi has been battling it out with rival Coca-Cola (see No. 79) for decades for market share and brand awareness. But when it comes to an industry-leading music strategy, Pepsi’s Frank Cooper has his sights set on a much broader spectrum of companies.
“For me it’s any non-endemic consumer products company in the music space, whether you’re coming from the electronics business, the beverage business or the car industry,” he says. “We’re in this amazing period where the right consumer--products brand can really add value to an artist as well as their products, without the artist having to sacrifice their integrity or artistry in any way.”
In 2013 Pepsi’s sparkling beverages portfolio embarked on a series of partnerships with artists big and small to become a more sustainable part of their careers, and gain a healthy share of buzz in return. Brand Pepsi teamed with Beyoncé for a multiyear sponsorship of her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour and an original content collaboration, the first fruits of which came through "Beyoncé" bonus cut “Grown Woman” and will continue later this year in an original video series. Mountain Dew expanded its music imprint Green Label Sound beyond hip-hop and indie to country, aligning with rising star Brantley Gilbert and 10 emerging acts through CMT’s “Concrete Country” series.
Aquafina tapped pop star Austin Mahone as its first digital and brand strategist. And Pepsi leveraged its existing sponsorships of the CMT Awards, Super Bowl and Grammy Awards to shine a light on Hunter Hayes, Bruno Mars and this year’s best new artist nominees, respectively.
“We’ve decided the only way you can differentiate yourself in this environment is to really pick your fight and then go deep,” Cooper says. “We’ve identified a few areas where we think we have the right play, and music happens to be one of those spaces.”
The coming months will see the launch of what Cooper has dubbed the Pepsi Music Accelerator, through which the company will build on its tech relationships with companies like Twitter, iTunes Radio, YouTube, Next Big Sound and BigChampagne, and align it with upcoming artists for original content. A label vet himself, having held senior roles at Tommy Boy Gospel and Def Jam in the ’90s, Cooper doesn’t want Pepsi to become a label in the traditional sense. “No one can go it alone in this new music ecosystem,” Cooper says, “so a collection of the right partners is necessary for all of us to go forward effectively.”