BY LIM AI LEE IN LONDON
POP stars sell. For this reason, PepsiCo International is banking on four big names in music to promote its products through an aggressive global marketing campaign this year.
The soft drinks producer has signed up Pink, Beyonce Knowles, Britney Spears and Enrique Iglesias for its Gladiator commercial to be released in 170 countries.
Although the value of contract for each star was not disclosed, the 3 min 7 sec commercial is estimated to cost US$30mil (RM114mil), supposedly the most expensive ad produced to date.
The commercial is part of Pepsis new Dare for More campaign this year, a follow-up to its Ask for More campaign in 2003.
Pop stars Britney Spears, Pink and Beyonce Knowles dresed up as gladiators while Enrique Iglesias in the background is the Roman Emperor.
Filmed in Romes Coliseum, Gladiator features the three female stars as gladiators while Enrique Iglesias plays an evil Roman Emperor. A world premiere of the commercial was held in London recently, graced by Pink, Beyonce and Britney and attended by over 100 media representatives from various countries.
With Beyonce winning five awards at the 46th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, the much-hyped commercial is expected to receive a further boost.
The ad also includes cameo appearances by Bryan May and Roger Taylor from rock group Queen, whose timeless hit, We Will Rock You, is featured in the ad.
Permanis Sdn Bhd vice-president for sales and marketing, A. Nagarajan Pillay who was present at the London premiere, said Pepsi hoped to reach out to young consumers through its association with music. (Permanis is the manufacturer and bottler for Pepsi products in Malaysia.)
Getting the three divas together to film and launch the commercial is no easy feat in view of their busy schedules, he said.
On the home front, he expects the Year of the Monkey to be another good year for Pepsi.
Total sales turnover in Malaysia last year was RM220mil and Permanis hoped to achieve a target of RM300mil this year, Nagarajan said, adding that Permanis would embark on an aggressive marketing campaign in line with the new Dare for More campaign.
He said the Gladiator commercial would run for the entire year and be featured on television as well as the print media.
There would also be a road tour and contests to promote Pepsis new products.
There are plans to launch 10 new flavours this year, which will appeal to young Malaysian consumers, he said, adding that recent products such as Pepsi Twist, Pepsi Blue and Pepsi X had received good response.
He said the Gladiator commercial was targeted at the young generation who made up the bulk of cola consumers, whose core group were those aged between 17 and 24.
Survey has shown that 64% of Malaysians listen to music and 80% in this group are teenagers.
The Dare for More campaign will have its local equivalent called the I Punya Cara campaign.
Nagarajan said the campaign was to promote individuality and urge Pepsi consumers to get the most out of life.