Pepsi Teams With Universal Latin, Expands Support of Emerging Artists

Pepsi will feature UMLE act 3BallMTY in a multiplatform campaign later this month.

Pepsi, known for its tradition of brand partnerships with the biggest artists of the day, is prepping a spate of new programs that will give lesser-known acts the same kind of exposure as some of the legends who've graced its campaigns.

Leading Pepsi's emerging artists program is a new partnership with Universal Music Latin Entertainment in which the companies will select two rising, as-yet-unsigned acts to introduce during a year-long period. The deal will involve a 50/50 split of everything from front-end costs to back-end profits.

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"Pepsi will fund a portion of the marketing and in exchange we will share on all revenue derived from artists signed," says Gustavo Lopez, executive VP of brand partnerships, business development and digital at UMLE.

Pepsi will promote the acts through branded initiatives like its summer concert series, Pepsi Pulse and, potentially, a "fifth quarter" program after the Super Bowl. Pepsi will also feature another UMLE act, 3BallMTY, in a multiplatform ad campaign set to debut later this month.

The partnership represents a renew­ed focus for PepsiCo on marketing to Latin consumers. The company championed the segment in the early 2000s with general-market endorsement deals with Shakira and Ricky Martin and enough dedicated spending to rank No. 6 on Advertising Age's Top 50 Advertisers in Hispanic Media in 2004. However, in the ensuing years, PepsiCo's spending dropped considerably, enough for the beverage brand to fall off the chart altogether after 2008.

"We strive to provide unforgettable entertainment experiences to our consumers, and Latin-­inspired music is one genre that is a major part of pop music now," Pepsi senior director of cultural branding Javier Farfan says. "More than anything else, we view this as a focus on music fans and the promotion of emerging talent that we feel deserves an amplified platform."

UMLE's Lopez also notes that the acts it signs with Pepsi as part of the new deal will be Latin-inspired, "meaning that artists signed may be native English speakers yet have tremendous Latin appeal. We are currently talking to a few artists and will soon announce our first signing and label name."

Another emerging-artist partnership for Pepsi is a weekly series, Pepsi Pulse, created with Complex Media Group. The program features new artists, videos and songs on Complex media properties as well as, and has already shined a spotlight on acts like Solange, the Suzan, Toro y Moi, Ashley Monroe and Lucy Rose. Farfan hopes that Pepsi can eventually re-create the success of its 2011 campaign with Warner Bros.' Outasight, whose song "Tonight's the Night" was featured in a long-term TV campaign that helped the song reach the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. "Our brand is always thrilled when we can provide an emerging artist with the platform to get noticed and reach consumers in ways they wouldn't have otherwise been able to," Farfan says.

Pepsi will maintain campaigns this year featuring country acts Hunter Hayes and Tate Stevens, each of whom debuted new Pepsi commercials during the Grammy Awards in February. Other acts are still being booked for Pepsi's upcoming concert series, which in 2012 featured shows with Katy Perry, Gloriana and a Michael Jackson tribute with Ne-Yo and Melanie Fiona. Pepsi is also on the road with Beyoncé as a sponsor of her Mrs. Carter World Tour.

"We can guarantee that our fans will be treated to a variety of both established as well as emerging artists across all genres of music [this summer]," Farfan says.  


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