Pepsi has been in Eastern Russia for 20 years but while there is a
high brand definition among consumers, Pepsi tends to be seen as a
Russian product rather than a more desirable American brand.
Until last year, Pepsi in Eastern Russia was also mainly sold through
franchise agreements with local bottlers. This meant there was no
overall co-ordination and sales and distribution were uneven. To reverse
this trend, London agency Inskip supported by Moscow-based Public
Relations and Promotion Group (PRP) were brought in by PIB to create the
Pepsi Zone Roadshow as a roll-out of its Pepsi Blue campaign.
To develop PIB’s consumer message underlining the American heritage of
the Pepsi brand, increase sales and develop its trade and distribution
network in Eastern Russia.
The American-themed Pepsi Zone Roadshow was devised as a means of
underlining the US-heritage of the brand to consumers while providing
access to potential distributors.
The tour combined road show events (aimed at press and trade) and rock
concerts (aimed at consumers). The two rock concerts featured the aptly
named Blues Brothers, Russian dance club band MF3 and Russian female
vocalist Alyoma Svirodova. The accompanying 12 press and trade
conferences were fronted by the president of PIB, Larry Hershsfield with
up to 120 people attending each session.
The programme was put together in six weeks from initial discussion to
the first event. This included finding sites, theming the events, script
writing, video production, equipment hire and purchase and shipping of
crew and equipment from the UK to the nine regions hosting the
Inskip provided the equipment and crew for press conferences and
concerts while PRP took responsibility for regional media contacts. A
media audit was carried out prior to each event and speakers briefed on
the prevailing mood of the local media. The agencies also worked closely
with regional managers in order to ensure that all nine presentations
were tailored to the local market.
Some 40,000 people attended the two rock concerts in Volga and Siberia
and both were broadcast on national and local television. This, coupled
with the extensive national and local cross-media coverage, meant the
campaign reached an audience of around 100 million.
Ken Newell PIB’s executive vice president and chief operating officer
says: ’So far our unit sales have substantially increased between 70 and
80 per cent, which proves that taking activities out to the regions can
have a dramatic effect on motivating the local teams and stimulating
consumer sales.’ There are plans for a further rigorous campaign this
With its mix of entertainment and hard fact, the Pepsi Roadshow
successfully picked up on the Russian craze for all things Americana
delivering its message to its dual audiences in a surprisingly neat
package considering the logistical nightmares facing any PR agency
operating in this vast country.
With each city effectively equipped with its own media infrastructure,
it was essential to have an operator on the ground who could tap into
local interests and the smooth liaison between the UK and Russian
agencies was key to its success. Both agencies continue to work on the
campaign and Inskip is to open a Moscow office later this year. PIB is
to open new plants in Eastern Russia and further road show events are
now planned to capitalise on the success of the campaign.
Client: Pepsi International Bottlers (PIB)
PR team: Inskip and PRP
Campaign: Pepsi Zone Roadshow
Timescale: July 1996 - ongoing
Estimated cost: over pounds 500,000