Pepsi and Pizza Hut replace football fans Paul Pogba with AR game

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Dive Summary:

  • According to a press release, Pepsi is working with Yum Brands chains Pizza Hut and KFC for activations related to football star Paul Pogba as the UEFA Champions League competition draws to a close.
  • The soft drink marketer, together with Pizza Hut and production company Tool of North America, has developed an augmented reality (AR) mobile game in the runner genre for players to earn points as they dribble and slide under obstacles, replacing Pogba. In the form of Pepsi and Pizza Hut icons. “Score with Pogba” can be accessed on certain products, at sales points, by scanning the QR code and on a microsite.
  • The KFC collaboration with Sky Pie studio included the making of an elaborate Rube Goldberg-esque contraption that serves up a bucket of fried chicken with a freshly poured Pepsi. The machine was made in New York and filmed for digital and social content trying to recap the little moments leading up to the UEFA championship game.

Diving Information:

Pepsi is pulling a few more stops to create excitement in the UEFA Champions League final on May 28. Instead of focusing on the broader sport of football, the soda brand is highlighting midfielder Paul Pogba, who is planning to leave Manchester United. According to media reports, when his contract expires in June and there is a desired transfer in the market.

The athlete has a longstanding relationship with Pepsi, and “Score with Pogba” marks his debut in his own video game. Pepsi and restaurant partner Pizza Hut are tailoring their efforts to the hyper-casual mobile gaming category, which has grown in popularity during the pandemic and has reached a more diverse audience than the more hardcore console offerings.

Participants who score in “Score with Pogba” have the chance to enter a leaderboard and create a custom player card that displays their stats to share on social media. The experience is available in 20 countries and is accessed through custom packaging and in-store collateral that bridges mobile and real-world marketing elements.

The KFC portion of Pepsi’s Pogba campaign is more conceptual, trying to embody the “micromoments” accumulated on the way to the UEFA Champions League grand final through a Rube Goldberg device. In a promotional video, Pogba kicks a soccer ball through floating hoops carried by drones into the mechanism, initiating a process that eventually offers him a KFC and Pepsi meal.

Football continues to occupy a prominent place in PepsiCo’s sports marketing playbook. The company has been a partner of the UEFA Champions League since 2015, and the current sponsorship agreement with the division extends to the 2024 season. The marketer has recently expanded brands operating around the football league, adding Rockstar Energy to a roster that already includes Pepsi Max, Lay’s and Gatorade, per Adweek. Campaigns are also increasingly targeting US markets, as professional football is gaining more traction in the country.