Pepsi has enlisted Fall Out Boy and Charli XCX for "Out of The Blue," a new music program that will see the soda brand surprising fans across 100 days, from February 8 through May 18, with exclusive, one-of-a-kind music experiences. The artists will be seen playing their latest singles in "out of the blue" settings in a series of commercials set to air during Sunday's (Feb. 8) Grammy telecast on CBS; Fall Out Boy will perform "Uma Thurman" in the middle of Los Angeles-area record-pressing plant Rainbo Records, while Charli XCX will perform "Doing It" as an antidote to a run-of-the-mill block party, complete with bicycles tricked out with giant boomboxes.
Over the next 100 days, one fan and three guests will be chosen each day for a flyaway trip to a major music event (including South By Southwest, the MTV Video Music Awards and the iHeartRadio Music Festival), with experiences ranging from backstage passes and premier seats at a show to artist meet and greets, access to rehearsals and sound checks and more. Eligible fans will be chosen by following @Pepsi on Twitter and posting a photo of any Pepsi beverage product on Twitter using the hashtag #OutoftheBlue.
All participants will also be able to unlock exclusive behind-the-scenes videos each week at pepsi.com/outoftheblue. Three-time 2015 Grammy nominee Jhene Aiko will serve as host to several of the videos, including a set visit to Fall Out Boy's shoot in Canoga Park, Calif. The first clip premiered Wednesday (Feb. 4) on Pepsi's YouTube channel.
"Even before Michael Jackson moonwalked and Aretha Franklin sang 'The Joy of Cola,' we've had a footprint really focused on music as the best way to drive our strategy," says Eric Fuller, director-Pepsi marketing. "Pepsi's goal every year is to be on the pulse of culture and work with an artist that embodies that Out of the Blue mindset. We wanted to celebrate the fan by dropping the velvet rope and bringing them into music moments only Pepsi can deliver."
Fall Out Boy and Charli XCX are expected to be involved with future Out of the Blue surprises, and were chosen for their current hold on the zeitgeist -- a positioning Pepsi calls "Live For Now." Fall Out Boy's latest album American Beauty / American Psycho just debuted at No. 1 on last week's Billboard 200 with the band's best sales week since 2007, while multiple Grammy nominee Charli XCX scored two big 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 last year with her chart-topping Iggy Azalea collaboration "Fancy" and No. 8-peaking solo hit "Boom Clap."
"Music has become a fabric now, it's more pervasive than ever. And as an artist, you want to be able to infiltrate different areas and play in front of different people that you wouldn't otherwise," says Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz. "To be able to do one of our songs with Pepsi for some of our actual fans and be able to shoot in a record plant is crazy to me. There's not an open lane for us as a band necessarily so we have to create different lanes." Adds Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump, "It's a testament to our fans that our new record was even bigger than the last one. That's kind of crazy, and a little overwhelming, but we wanted to celebrate being a band that's always had maybe a little too much ambition."
Charli XCX was inspired by her own personal out-of-the-blue moment -- surprising a fan and 12 of her friends (and her dad) with a spontaneous karaoke party -- in the making of her Pepsi spot. "We came up with the concept together, but I was excited when they wanted it to be really raw and like my live show," Charli says.
And behind-the-scenes host Jhene Aiko was surprised to deliver her own Out of the Blue moment to one lucky fan who happened to be on set during Aiko's visit to the Fall Out Boy shoot. "For me, it's always weird because I don't look at myself as a famous person or celebrity, I just make music," Aiko says. "So whenever I meet a fan that's as passionate as I am about my music it makes me wanna keep doing it."
Pepsi's Fuller hopes the next three months generate similar organic moments of fan-artist connections. "That moment is an example of exactly what Pepsi's trying to do -- demonstrate how our influence is prevalent even when we're not aware of it."