From Ray Charles to the Cool Kids, PepsiCo has long made extensive use of music in its advertising and marketing campaigns. Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Shakira and Justin Timberlake are among the artists who've starred in Pepsi-Cola TV spots. And although its plans hadn't been finalized at press time, the company was considering airing ads during this year's Super Bowl featuring Lil Wayne and Will.i.am for Gatorade and Pepsi, respectively.
But PepsiCo's use of music has also extended to more unusual initiatives, such as Mountain Dew's digital singles label Green Label Sound and Pepsi's free music promotions at Apple's iTunes Store in 2004 and Amazon's MP3 store last year.
Dave Burwick, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo North America Beverages, spoke with Billboard about the importance of music in the company's marketing efforts.
Pepsi recently shifted its advertising account from longtime home BBDO to TBWA. Will Pepsi and its affiliated brands continue to use high-profile musicians in its advertising?
Music has always been a part of our DNA and played an integral role in connecting consumers. Going forward, there's a good chance it will continue. How we work artists will continue to evolve. It starts with what we're trying to communicate as a brand. In the past we've said, "I like artist A and I want to associate with this artist," like how Budweiser and Jay-Z did it. That's not the path we're on. We're about communicating how Pepsi is a catalyst for positive change in the culture. Clearly, musical artists play a big role in that. There is no long-term plan other than Pepsi and music go well together.
Mountain Dew has its own record label, Green Label Sound, which gives singles away for free. How do you measure the success of such a label?
Buzz and Internet chatter. We also track the success of the artists and how their careers are going. We ask, "Are we getting a reaction from our consumers and are consumers aware?"
Will other Pepsi brands launch their own labels?
Click here for the full interview, which includes the company's label strategy, his thoughts on the Pepsi Stuff promotion with Amazon's MP3 and more.