Pepsi has played a hands-on role in introducing new music in recent years, from breaking Outasight’s “Tonight’s The Night” via an “X Factor” campaign to pairing Calvin Harris and Ne-Yo for pseudo-jingle “Let’s Go” to premiering Beyonce’s presumed next single “Grown Woman” in a global spot this April. Now the soda brand is working with Katy Perry to debut a song from her upcoming album “Prism” (due Oct. 22) by partnering with MTV and the Video Music Awards for a tweet-to-unlock campaign.
Starting today (Tuesday), fans who tweet #KATYNOW can unlock clues detailing two of the album’s tracks, including song titles, lyrics and video messages from Katy herself with additional surprises. Once the clues have been unlocked, Pepsi and MTV will stream samples of the two new songs on Saturday, Aug. 24, at Pepsi.MTV.com, where fans can then vote on which one they want to be released early by tweeting custom hashtags for their favorite track. The winning song will be announced Sunday night (Aug. 25), when Perry performs “Roar” at the close of the VMAs from an undisclosed location in Brooklyn to complement this year’s location at Barclays Center. The track will be released commercially Tuesday, Sept. 17. Additionally, Pepsi will give away downloads of “Roar” to any fan who registers for its Pepsi Experience Points rewards program.
Pepsi and the VMAs have a history of unique partnerships, from a branded Moonman in 2009 (the Pepsi Rock Band Video Award) to a Nicki Minaj-fan giveaway in 2012. Additionally, Pepsi and Viacom have partnered on other fan contests over the past few months as part of Pepsi’s Iconic Summer program, including a guest host opportunity on CMT.
“It’s exactly that history of unique partnerships that led us to collaborate on a program of this magnitude,” says Rachel Baumgarten, senior VP of integrated marketing at MTV Networks. “We are always looking to break new ground with Pepsi and create programs together that top anything we've ever done before. With this program, Pepsi and MTV are culminating a summer long program that provided fans with content and access to the talent that they love and the VMA piece of it all takes that premise to a whole new level."
The conversations to pair Perry and Pepsi kicked in as soon as the singer was confirmed to perform “Roar” several weeks ago. But the company has a history with the pop star — they last partnered in 2012 for the Hollywood premiere of “Part Of Me: 3D,” where Perry also performed a full-length concert on Hollywood Boulevard for thousands of fans (Billboard was the event’s editorial partner.)
The VMAs have also featured remote performances at various points over the years (Taylor Swift on a subway, Muse on a rooftop, P!nk on the Paramount lot) but never with the support of a sponsor. "We have never executed a partnership similar to this one in the VMAs and are beyond excited to see it play out,” Baumgarten says.
The renewed relationship with Perry may even lead to a broader sponsorship of her future touring efforts, as Pepsi has done with Beyonce and Hunter Hayes most recently. "Pepsi is known to support iconic and emerging superstars," says Chad Stubbs, senior marketing director at PepsiCo. "Katy Perry’s ongoing passion and fan loyalty make for a perfect program for Pepsi and MTV at the 2013 VMAs."