Pepsi Wild Cherry targets maturing millennials as flavored soda sales soar

Pepsi Wild Cherry targets maturing millennials as flavored soda sales soar

Pepsi Wild Cherry targets millennial women with a refreshed campaign that taps into their evolving preferences for 'wild' flavors, while emphasizing the role of women in driving growth within this crucial segment The brand aims to boost sampling and capture the attention of this influential demographic

Pepsi is launching its first dedicated campaign for its Wild Cherry variant in three years, targeting millennials who are now facing the realities of adulthood. The campaign, "Get Wild," acknowledges that the idea of "wild" for this generation has evolved significantly. According to Jenny Danzi, senior director of Pepsi Trademark and a millennial herself, while millennial lives have changed over the past decade, they still know how to have fun and indulge, albeit in a more subdued manner.

The "Get Wild" campaign follows a comprehensive Pepsi rebranding effort last year marking the soft drink's 125th anniversary. This included a fresh visual identity for Wild Cherry, featuring packaging adorned with vibrant cherries sporting Pepsi-blue stems. The update, along with a new Pepsi pulse motif at the beginning of commercials, is incorporated into "Get Wild," which also maintains classic tactics like nostalgic nods to popular music.

One scene, titled "Nursery Rhymez," shows a pair of new parents spontaneously bursting into a rendition of Lil Jon and The East Side Boyz' party anthem "Get Low" while trying to be quiet so as not to wake their baby. In another scene, "#1 Fan," a sports fan goes through an intense pre-game ritual set to the driving rhythm of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," only to reveal that his over-the-top antics are for a youth flag football game in which his child is competing.

Winning over millennial women

The advertisements, directed by Kate Hollowell and her female-led production company Epoch Films, are currently available on YouTube and will make their national TV debut during NFL Wild Card Weekend starting January 13. Pepsi Wild Cherry is targeting millennials' digital preferences with ad placements on social media, podcasts, and mobile gaming. Key partners include Barstool Sports, Betches, the popular "Call Her Daddy" podcast, and Candy Crush Saga.

Pepsi Wild Cherry is aiming to appeal to a consumer demographic that is now crucial for the sales of flavored cola. The brand mentioned that millennial women especially favor this category.

"Within these millennial households that are driving this potential growth, they do lean towards females," stated Danzi. "It's both women shopping for themselves and women being the primary purchasers for the household."

The "Get Wild" campaign shines a light on media targeted towards women and owned by women, such as the Betches partnership, "Call Her Daddy" advertising play, and behind-the-scenes work from Epoch Films. VaynerMedia was instrumental in developing the campaign. While "Get Wild" aims for broad appeal, it will launch in full force during NFL Wild Card Weekend, with Pepsi as a sponsor of the football league. Danzi did not disclose any Super Bowl plans for the initiative but mentioned that Pepsi Wild Cherry will continue to be actively marketed throughout Q1.

“The significance of uncovering a genuine human insight, even if it’s derived from a small portion, is that it has the ability to connect with diverse demographics and reach across different audience groups,” stated Danzi. “[The ads] may have been designed with a particular demographic in mind, but Pepsi is always inclusive and we are discovering that this campaign is as well.”

Driving sampling

Pepsi is prioritizing its zero-sugar products as more consumers seek healthier beverage options. The company updated its zero-sugar drinks, such as Wild Cherry, last year and promoted the changes in a Super Bowl ad.

Starting with the Wild Card Weekend, consumers can text “WILDCHERRY” to 81234 to receive a complimentary Pepsi Wild Cherry. In addition, the brand has been running a retail promotion since late December, allowing shoppers to enter for a chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2025 Wild Card Weekend by scanning Wild Cherry displays at select retailers. According to Danzi, the promotion has attracted "tens of thousands of participants," although specific figures were not provided.