2020 Brand Experience & Activation


Short List
Category A01. Fast Moving Consumer Goods
Entrant DDB ROMANIA Bucharest, ROMANIA
Idea Creation DDB ROMANIA Bucharest, ROMANIA
Media Placement OMD Bucharest, ROMANIA
Additional Company KUBIS INTERACTIVE Bucharest, ROMANIA
Name Company Position
Alex Tocilescu DDB Romania Sr. Copywriter
Mihai Calota DDB Romania Sr. Art Director
Stefan Vasilachi DDB Romania Executive Creative Director
Simina Leotescu DDB Romania Head of Strategy
Blanka Horhath DDB Romania Account Director
Roxana Tampau DDB Romania Managing Director
Roxana Memetea DDB Romania Managing Partner
Delia Corniciuc PepsiCo Sr. Marketing Manager Beverages
Iuliana Dragomir PepsiCo Sr. Brand Manager
Laurentiu Ion PepsiCo Sr. Digital Marketing Manager Beverages
Ada Gheorghiu Kubis Interactive Group Account Director
Sebastian Luba Kubis Interactive Head of Social Media
Vlad Iosipescu Kubis Interactive Social Media Manager
Carina Toma Kubis Interactive Group Creative Director
Victor Firan Kubis Interactive Art Director
Dragos Aliciu Kubis Interactive Senior Copywriter
Dana Constantin OMD Digital Manager
Razvan Meirosu OMD Media Director

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

Covid-19 changed the way we experience the world and experiences themselves (ex. music, concerts). In isolation, with a unique FOMO and fear, people rerouted all their attention to the news and to consuming every available online experience – from Netflix, to YouTube – until there wasn’t any left (or at least not to their likes). In this context, Pepsi Retro Studio gave different generations a unifying experience to consume at home, together, safely. We met their new needs with empathy and good vibes/energy, not marketing, while also expanding their home experience options, in times when good experiences were scarce.


Situation: 2020: the COVID-19 crisis affected us as individuals and as professionals, especially the industries relying on public interaction. Overnight, Music - Pepsi’s main communication platform - and musicians saw their raison d’être disappearing. Moreover, the biggest brands on the planet froze advertising and entire generations started experiencing unbearable FOMO. Brief: Before the pandemic, the brief was a nation-wide activation campaign. Then Covid-19 came, and we had to reconsider every direct channel and readjust to the new world. New Objectives: 1. Audience: Focus on care and concern, reach out but with support, not marketing. With a new campaign wrapped around music ENTERTAIN THE ISOLATED PEPSI AUDIENCE, APPEASE THEIR FOMO & SUPPORT THE ARTISTS & THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. 2. Communication: Meet the audiences with brand experience where they are, expand the home brand experience options. HELP PEPSI BECOME AN ONLINE CHANNEL OF CHOICE FOR THE AUDIENCE CONFINED AT HOME.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Introducing THE NEW MTV: PEPSI RETRO STUDIO. The new music and entertainment fresh central. We revived the closed-in-Romania MTV format in a YouTube show feat. Virgin Radio, delivering comfort and brand experience safely online directly to their homes. Here hot new artists launched covers/videoclips of the 90’s hits, putting the ”new” in the ”new old song”. Here we hosted lives, interviews, and games, pairing TikTok challenges for the young with “analog games” for the mature (from the no-internet era). Here we galvanised the power of generations, stood up for the music and soothed people’s FOMO when it was needed more than ever.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Target: If other brands can be defined through demographics or statistics, Pepsi’s target can be better defined through a mood, a spirit or an attitude: the young at heart, be them digital literates or young spirited online active users. Moreover, Pepsi is the first cola in Romania and the cola that was here for multiple generations (from the 60’s until today). Which is why Pepsi has a long tradition in addressing “generations” and closing the gap between them. Finding the right “stone” (message, channels, action) to catch and entertain multiple generations together was especially important now, as the generations were stuck together, while their likes and preferences are very much apart. Strategy: When the going gets tough, the tough get going! Pepsi – the generations liaison – continued advertising, ensuring a solid support for Music and musicians and providing comfort & entertainment to the generations stuck-in-the-pandemic-together.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

The twist was that the New also came in the form of New Old Songs: hot artists of today were contracted to do their own covers of the 90’s greatest hits. We firstly launched them live on Pepsi’s YouTube channel, then we released the new videoclips on YouTube, then we posted them on Facebook and TikTok for people to hear about them and interact with them. In a very music television tradition, our show also featured interviews and fun games, besides “the latest old songs”: songs related challenges on TikTok (for the younger) were paired with “Games from the block”, a collection of fun games invented out of necessity (for the mature). The campaign lasted 3 and a half months, during which we re-wrote, re-made and re-launched 5 old songs in the new tunes (from rock to pop, from pop to hip-hop etc.) while offering our public, music/musicians genuine support.

List the results (30% of vote)

Pepsi Retro Studio became THE online channel of choice for both generations (young and mature) across all media playgrounds, surpassing all of our objectives: Campaign songs played: Over 10 million times Young Playgrounds (TikTok): - 147 million views under the brand hashtag #TodayAndTomorrow - 44 million impressions, more than double the population of Romania Old Playgrounds (YouTube/Facebook): - Total Reach 87% - 4,5 million unique users – reaching, practically, 1 in 4 Romanians - Impressions 54,2 million, triple the population of Romania - Facebook posts reach, 80% organic – 3,6 million – 30% of the total Facebook users in Romania Bonus achievement: Plenty of earned media, no.1 mentioned brand online for 2 consecutive months.