All relationships have an emotional component — and that holds true for the connection between people and brands.
This relationship with customers is built over time, nourished by experiences along many online and physical touchpoints in their journey, grounded in expectations, and confirmed through repeated interactions.
A crisis puts both the strengths and weaknesses of this relationship under a spotlight and the coronavirus pandemic is not just any crisis.
The “locked down” nature of the response to this crisis — which is forcing most people to be physically separated from their friends, extended family, workplace, and favourite places — is requiring organizations to adapt to more indigenous ways of maintaining this relationship.
There is little doubt that these adaptations have evolved consumer engagement forever.
Unfortunately, this evolution is not based primarily on the technological and digital advances made so far but by the forced circumstances occasioned by the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic.
For forward-thinking brands like Pepsi, foremost global cola CSD brands, the question has always been, how to mitigate the impact of the novel coronavirus as it upends every aspect of the consumer’s every socio-economic activity.
Lockdowns, work stoppages along with quarantines and restrictions means that brands have to find a way to interact with and engage consumers meaningfully. At this point, consumers need brands to be there for them.
According to a Berlin Cameron/Perksy study, a high proportion of millennials believe that brands can play an important role during the COVID-19 crisis and want to see communications that address the situation in their tone and/or focus on brand initiatives.
No doubt, the coronavirus pandemic did not spare the creative industry in its disturbance. It took the industry, which is one of the employers of labour in the country to shut down, stopping all activities.
Still, most importantly, it deprived people of glorious moments of celebrations. Weekends which are usually reserved for parties and clubbing now spent indoors.
Even as the country takes cautious steps to reopen the economy, there is no evidence that the creative industry which thrives on social gathering and audience participation will bounce back immediately.
Fortunately for the Nigerian consumer, one brand has been able to reach the very core of consumer insight to come up with just the right initiative to keep the consumer entertained.
With this initiative, the brand has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to keeping customers happy at a time when happy moments can only be shared from a distance despite the strains of the coronavirus pandemic.
This brand keyed into Nigerians’ love for music, dance and catching fun to come up with a weekend starter groove that does not require taking the risk of breaking social distancing protocols.
That brand is Pepsi and that initiative is the “Turn Up Friday With Pepsi,” a special music programme airing on Africa Magic Urban (DStv Channel 153) and Africa Magic Family (DStv Channel 154 &GOtv Channel 2) at 9pm on Fridays.
The TV show is curated as a DJ Jam session where viewers who miss the clubbing scene can tune in and be entertained by the in-house DJ.
Done in partnership with pay TV giants, Africa Magic’s unique music programme is uniquely styled to accommodate various segments that will keep viewers thrilled throughout the over three hours broadcast.
There is the DJ Battle where selected DJs show their skills on the wheels of steel.
The programme which provides viewers the opportunity to turn up, dance and have a good time in the comfort of their homes is billed to run for ten weeks.
As at press time, the programme has run for six weeks.
Hype man extraordinaire and self-acclaimed energy folk, Do2tun, hosts the refreshing party on television.
The On-Air Personality brings his energy to the screen, encouraging viewers to send their song requests as well as video clips of them dancing to tunes from the DJ’s turntable.
The programme has featured renown Disc Jockeys like DJ Obi, DJ Neptune, DJ Sose, DJ Lambo, DJ Consequence and many more on the wheels of steel for three hours every Friday.
Speaking on the innovative initiative, Segun Ogunleye, Marketing Manager Seven-Up Bottling Company, said:
“As a brand that is at the forefront of music and contemporary pop culture, Pepsi is proud to collaborate with Africa Magic to bring the best of music and entertainment to our millions of consumers now more than ever with Turn up Friday with Pepsi.
“Our consumers are always the life of the party, an experience they have missed while they adhere to the safety precautions due to the pandemic.
“So, we decided to bring the musical experience to them as we continue to refresh them the way we know how to.”
Also speaking on the new programme, Channel Director, Africa Magic, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, said:
“As Nigerians spend more time at home amid the pandemic, ‘Turn Up Friday with Pepsi’ is bringing DJ music party to everyone right in their living rooms and Africa Magic remains at the forefront of giving them a great time of fun and excitement. We will continue to look for innovative ways to thrill and entertain our viewers.
‘Turn Up Friday With Pepsi’ will ensure that our viewers have all they need to dance to their favourite music and have fun in their living rooms, with the best selection of exciting music and club mixes. We are glad that Pepsi is sponsoring the Friday night of unlimited fun and excitement, doing it the Naija way.”
The highly interactive and engaging programme features consumers on screen grooving to music with a bottle of their favorite Pepsi drink in their hand.
Star artistes also feature in the party from the comfort of their homes while viewers are treated to an array of gifts including recharge cards and accessories on the go.
The impact of the initiative on fun-loving consumers and on the brand is huge. Interaction with the brand online and offline is massive.
A simple search on the hashtag #AMTurnUpFridayWithPepsi across social media will reveal a massive trend and following of the brand in the digital space.
The connection between the brand and consumer can best be hailed a marketing feat at such a time even before this crisis, as a PwC research showed that 59 percent of global consumers surveyed felt companies had lost touch with the human element of customer experience.
For one, the brand has shown that it can be there for the consumer at such a time whenthey might be struggling to navigate the many friction points of the “new normal.”
As experts have variously pointed out, what customers care about most right now might be changing.
Brands with the best price, coolest product, or most memorable marketing campaign might not have an advantage compared with those that exhibit emotional intelligence and communicate with care, honesty, and empathy, and build trust as a result. In times of crisis, people want to be seen and understood, and they are extremely sensitive to tone and motive.
Pepsi has shown it does this by reaching the core of the consumer with an initiative that touches on the core of entertainment.
Pepsi has undoubtably established its position as the unarguable biggest supporters of sports and entertainment in Nigeria.
The brand has been the brain behind star-studded concerts, powered world-class sporting events and signed the biggest names in the entertainment industry as brand ambassadors.
Pepsi has successfully achieved this by connecting with the mindset of young Nigerians who love to show off their unique taste in everything during December.
Beyond the great taste of its drink, Pepsi also prides itself as the best taste in the choice of its brand ambassadors.
The list of its brand ambassador includes A-list artists such as hip-pop-sensation, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Davido, Teckno, DJ Xclusive, DJ Cuppy, DJ Obi, DJ Spinall, and African Giant crooner and Grammy-nominated, Burna Boy.
Pepsi has continued to deepen its affinity in music, and to further drive a top of mind awareness amongst its audience by leveraging on the great taste of its product, the quality and depth of its world-class ambassadors and their numerous world-class events and the brand’s social impact.
Beyond providing its esteemed customers with a great taste, Pepsi has also continued to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians.
Last year, Pepsi presented a cheque of ₦1.5 million to Jacquelyn Madu (aka Jackye) winner of the Pepsi ‘Know Da Lyrics’ challenge in the Big Brother Naija Season 4.
Other musical concert sponsored by Pepsi include Trace Live, Surge Festival, a 2-day festival that incorporates music, food, fashion, games, arts and culture and designed as a hotspot for socio-economic interaction and unimaginative experience.
From its numerous brand activities, to its support of some of the coolest shows in the country, Pepsi has become a staple for the pop-culture enthusiast.
As part of last year’s December activities, the brand launched the ‘We’ve got taste campaign’. It was an exciting initiative that saw PEPSI star in some of the biggest shows in Lagos during the famed month of Detty December.
This included, Pepsi Rhythm Unplugged, Livespot X Festival featuring Cardi B, Star Boy Wizkid, and Grammy-nominated Burna Boy’s ‘Burna Boy in Concert’, MeganTheStallion’s show, Teni ‘The Billionaire Experience’, Tiwa Savage with ‘Savage Experience’, Pepsi ‘Star Boy’s Wizkid Live Concert.’, DJ Cuppy’s ‘Cactus at the Roof Party’, DJ Xclusive’s ‘All White Party’ , and DJ Spinall’s ‘Party of your D.
Pepsi’s impact is not only limited to entertainment, it can also be seen in the areas of sports in the country.
Over the years, it has supported various sporting events such as the Pepsi Football Academy, a school for learning, grooming and developing football talents.
To mention a few, football starts like Former Chelsea and Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi, Peter Osaze Odemwinge, Onyekachi Apam, Elderson Echiejile are all products of Pepsi Football Academy.