Pepsi drinks to Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez in Stateside soccer push

Pepsi is embracing soccer’s top talent as the carbonated drinks brand positions itself as a friend of players and fans both on and off the pitch.

‘Play to Inspire’ builds upon an existing partnership with the Uefa Champions League by enlisting Mexican wonder striker Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez to kickstart the US side of the campaign through a celebration of the sport’s most memorable talent.

Footballers Lionel Messi and Paul Pogba join the ‘Pepsi Collective’ by introducing its two most recent members – England star Lucy Bronze and Brazilian ace Ronaldhino – all set to an infectious beat by hip-hop and R&B star Montell Jordan.

Produced in English and Spanish, the campaign shows that fans all speak the common language of sport, irrespective of where they hail from.

Esperanza Teasdale, vice-president and general manager at PepsiCo, said: “There is always excitement for the Uefa Champions League at this time of year, and we’re tapping into that fervor to bring the beautiful game right to fans’ doorsteps with the ‘Play to Inspire,’ or ‘Juega para Inspirar,’ campaign. From all-star global talent to up-and-comers, this campaign combines the global thrill and community feel of the soccer experience to celebrate the sport and its fans. We’re thrilled to bring the buzz here stateside with ‘Chicharito’ and look forward to engaging fans all tournament long.”

Among those chosen to inspire in the creative are UK women’s grassroots coach Iqra Ismail, who is depicted training her team Hilltop FC. The brand is also partnering with fashion designer Liam Hodges to introduce a capsule collection of soccer-inspired clothing.

Pepsi will lead some 35,000 in-store executions across the US to reinforce this activity in branches of 7-Eleven, Walmart, Circle K and Kroger together with limited-edition packaging.

Pepsi’s soccer sojourn follows its domination of social media discussions during the Super Bowl LVI.