Pepsi to sponsor Super Bowl halftime show

10:33 am | July 24, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Pepsi has scored the Super Bowl halftime show.

The soda giant says it struck a multiyear deal with the National Football League to sponsor the big game’s musical performance. Financial terms and the exact duration of the deal were not disclosed.

The Purchase, N.Y.-based company says it also bought 60 seconds of ad time during the big game, which has seen record ratings for the past three years.

Pepsi last sponsored the show in 2007, when the rock musician Prince performed. Bridgestone Tires sponsored the show after that.

PepsiCo Inc.’s reunion with the nation’s biggest sporting event comes at a time when the company is working to put some fizz back in sales of its flagship soda. Earlier this year, Pepsi announced its “Live For Now” global marketing campaign, which is intended to rekindle the company’s long ties with pop culture and music.

Although PepsiCo has a broad and diverse portfolio of brands — including Frito-Lay, Gatorade and Quaker Oats — its namesake cola remains by far its single biggest moneymaker.

So far this year, the marketing push for Pepsi has included a TV ad with singer Nicki Minaj, a global marketing campaign featuring 1 billion cans of Pepsi with a silhouette of the late pop star Michael Jackson and a partnership with Twitter to stream live concerts.

The latest move is nevertheless the most high-profile; an estimated 111.3 million people watched in February as the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots, 21-17, in a thrilling rematch of the contest four years earlier, according to The Nielsen Co. That made the game the most-watched television show in U.S. history for the third straight year.

Even better for PepsiCo, last year’s halftime show with Madonna, Cee Lo Green, Minaj and M.I.A. was seen by an estimated 114 million people — a higher average than the game itself.

Adam Harter, Pepsi’s vice president of consumer engagement, said that the NFL is letting Pepsi have more input than past sponsors have had — including on stage design and which musicians perform during the show.

He declined to give details, but said Pepsi will also partner with the league in how the halftime show can be viewed online. Pepsi will also use the sponsorship for promotions on the soda cans and bottles its sells in stores.

“I think you’ll see more activation around sports and music together as the year unfolds,” Harter said.

On Monday, PepsiCo also announced a multiyear deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers to provide its drinks and Frito-Lay snacks at Heinz Field. The company said the conversion to Pepsi from The Coca-Cola Co. will be complete in time for the start of the coming season.

Coca-Cola has big marketing plans this year as well, with its sponsorship of the London Olympics this summer. The Atlanta company has sponsored the games since 1928, making it the longest continuous sponsor.

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