Pepsi is launching its initial dedicated campaign for the Wild Cherry variant in three years, targeting millennials who are now embracing the responsibilities of “adulting.” This term, once used ironically to mock everyday tasks like paying bills and grocery shopping, has taken on a new perspective for the cohort. Titled “Get Wild,” the campaign acknowledges that the current definition of “wild” for millennials is distinct from the perceptions of the 2000s and 2010s, when they were frequently criticized for “killing” various industries, including the soda industry.
Following an eventful 2023 marked by a nostalgic celebration of its 125th birthday, Pepsi is embarking on a new journey in 2024. The brand is initiating a campaign for its Wild Cherry flavored colas, aiming to resonate with millennials navigating the challenges of “adulting.” The “Get Wild” campaign is strategically focused on millennial parents, a demographic a few years beyond their more carefree days. For these parents, their “wild” sides may manifest differently now that they have children.
The campaign follows a comprehensive Pepsi rebrand conducted last year in honor of the soft drink’s 125th anniversary. This initiative introduced a new visual identity for Wild Cherry, featuring packaging adorned with vibrant cherries adorned with Pepsi-blue stems. The refresh, including a new Pepsi pulse motif at the beginning of commercials, is evident in “Get Wild.” The campaign also retains the brand’s familiar strategies, incorporating nostalgic nods to popular music.
In “#1 Fan,” a man who has definitely participated in his share of stadium revelry back in the day is now a dad bringing the energy—and a cooler full of Wild Cherry Pepsi—to his son’s youth flag football game. He applies face paint and chugs a can of the drink in his car to the soundtrack of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.”
For “Nursery Rhymez,” the drink prompts new parents to channel softer versions of their former partygoing personas to rock their baby to sleep with a hushed rendition of “Get Low” by Lil John and the East Side Boyz.
The 30-second advertisements, crafted by VaynerMedia and directed by Kate Hollowell from Epoch Films, are set to premiere during the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend. Pepsi plans an extensive NFL advertising presence throughout the season. The “Wild Media Takeover” will extend across various broadcast and media platforms, including Barstool Sports and Betches, streaming platforms like Spotify, and social media channels such as TikTok and Snapchat.
The ads, which were helmed by director Kate Hollowell and her women-led production house Epoch Films, are live on YouTube now and will debut on national TV as part of NFL Wild Card Weekend starting Jan. 13. Pepsi Wild Cherry is also catering to millennials’ digital habits with media buys on social, podcasts and mobile gaming. Partners include Barstool Sports, Betches, the popular “Call Her Daddy” podcast and Candy Crush Saga.
The brand has also partnered with mobile game Candy Crush for the effort, which Pepsi senior marketing director, Jenny Danzi, told “meets consumers where they are, where they listen and where they scroll. Pepsi Wild Cherry is one of those lines that we think has a lot of growth potential in it,” said Danzi, who shared that thousands of participants have already signed up to enter, resulting in “lots of traction at retail.”
“I think as a marketer it’s always fun when you find a human insight—which normally comes from a specific consumer group—but then human insights like that come from everyone,” she said. “These spots were developed off this millennial insight, but maybe ‘wild’ looked a little bit different [for other groups] 10, 15, 20 years ago. But you still like to have fun. You still like to indulge. And that is the real connection to the product.”
The brand is also enticing consumers to try the flavor by offering free Wild Cherry sodas through Super Bowl weekend and with an in-store sweepstakes for tickets to the 2025 NFL Wild Card Weekend Games.