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#Hashtag Asia Awards 2021 highlight: Pepsi wins brand love by tapping on bonding and music

#Hashtag Asia Awards 2021 highlight: Pepsi wins brand love by tapping on bonding and music

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Pepsi Philippines wanted to engage its young audience and reinforce its position as a complementing beverage to meals. To do so, the company, together with Mindshare Philippines, planned a big launch for the #PepsiHitSaSarap (#DeliciousHitsWith Pepsi) campaign as part of the company’s on-going meal sponsorship programme. The campaign was so successful in achieving significant brand favourability for Pepsi that it clinched the gold award for Best Use of Art/Culture/Brand/Entertainment Partnerships and was a finalist for Best Social Brand Launch at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s Hashtag Asia 2021 Awards.


Pepsi faced the challenge of engaging its target audience – young Millennials and Gen Zs. Being digital natives, the audience values its online identity and being at the prime of their youths meant that they always want to enjoy and maximise the joy of every life experience. However, with the pandemic, such experiences have been limited to indoor activities. Pepsi needed to provide its target audience with experiences that can satisfy their need for variety, novelty and excitement in order to engage them.


The team understood that dining is a social event that all Filipinos look forward to as it serves as an opportunity to bond with friends and family. Another common interest was music. Pepsi thus built its campaign strategy around these two key interests.

Firstly, Pepsi decided to engage top artists and influencers such as Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, boyband SB19, Ricci Rivero, Alyssa Valdez, Kiefer Ravena and Mimiyuuh as brand ambassadors due to their large fanbase which also made up the campaign’s target audience. These brand ambassadors were featured in a series of music-inspired ads positioning Pepsi as a meal’s “best friend”.

Secondly, to resonate with digital native audiences whose activities are still restricted due to pandemic measures, Pepsi organised a virtual concert where participants could take part in games and win prizes alongside chosen ambassadors. With the #PepsiHitSaSarap campaign being launched as part of “Pepsi Meals”, a food sponsorship programme, online participants could do their part to contribute to meals for the underprivileged.

Lastly, Pepsi chose Twitter as the primary social media platform for this campaign. Twitter’s conversational nature allowed Pepsi to stay attuned to conversations among its target audience and respond to relevant content. Twitter also had functions such as the ability to host a live event as well as a mechanism to support meal contributions that was perfect for what Pepsi hoped to execute.


The campaign kicked off with a video poll on Twitter which also debuted the campaign’s full jingle alongside its ambassadors. Users were asked to choose what dishes paired well with Pepsi. This induced high engagement from the start of the campaign. 

Concurrently, Pepsi used Timeline Takeover and Trend Takeover to put #PepsiHitSaSarap at the top of Twitter’s trending list for 24 hours. This achieved high visibility and drove mass awareness for the campaign. Simultaneously, Pepsi also created a custom branded emoji that appeared each time a user tweeted the campaign’s branded hashtag during the campaign period.  

With the ongoing hype, Pepsi reinforced the campaign in three ways. Firstly, the team promoted artist-specific video ads each with their unique song to promote the pairing of Pepsi with a dish so that specific fan communities could be engaged. 

Secondly, Pepsi ran ads with Conversation Buttons. To drive conversation, the team created customised hashtags to encourage consumers to choose which type of food they preferred to pair with Pepsi. Consumers would receive a list of restaurants serving those dishes from an autoresponder according to the hashtag they tweeted. The autoresponder also included the #PepsiHitSaSarap hashtag paired with the custom branded emoji to remind users that different dishes paired well with Pepsi. 

To wrap up the campaign, Pepsi orchestrated a live virtual event filled with musical performances and games on Twitter with all its celebrity ambassadors. Pre concert, a like-to-remind tweet was promoted so that fans who responded could be notified when the concert went live. During the concert, participants could also contribute meals to families affected by the pandemic simply by tweeting, commenting or sharing the live event with others using the campaign hashtag.


Based on a Nielsen Brand Effect study, it was found that those who were engaged in the campaign had an increase in top-of-mind awareness of Pepsi when it came to meals. There was also a significant lift in brand favourability after the campaign. Pepsi also saw phenomenal results from its various executions on Twitter. The kick-off video poll gathered as many as 50,000 votes and achieved an engagement rate 52.5% higher than the industry benchmark in the country.

The artist-specific video ads saw more than 16.2 million views and the virtual concert captured 860,000 views on Twitter itself. Pepsi also fulfilled its mission of food sponsorships as 10,000 meals were distributed as a result of the online activities during the concert.

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