April 25, 2024

Food and beverage giant PepsiCo has recently announced a new global partnership with EA Sports, the renowned video game developer, in a move that aims to enhance the presence of three of its flagship brands—Pepsi, Gatorade, and Lay’s—in EA’s upcoming title, EA Sports FC.

The collaboration between EA and PepsiCo seeks to engage a wider audience and foster a deeper connection with football fans through the highly anticipated independent EA game. As part of this partnership, PepsiCo and EA will work together on various activations featuring Pepsi’s football ambassadors, including Vini Jir and Leah Williamson. In addition, the agreement will involve in-game integrations, on-pack promotions, exclusive experiences, and in-game rewards. While specific details about these activations are yet to be disclosed, PepsiCo has expressed a strong interest in collaborating on competitive gaming initiatives with EA.

This strategic alliance aligns with PepsiCo’s overarching business strategy, which aims to unite the realms of football, music, and gaming. Moreover, it provides a platform for PepsiCo to further promote participation and gender equality, building upon the company’s existing initiatives.

PepsiCo’s Head of Global Sports and Partnerships, Adam Warner, spoke to Esports Insider about the partnership, emphasising the shared vision between the two entities. “We have somewhat of a crush on each other from a brand perspective,” Warner expressed. “There’s a very mutual opportunity here to broaden each other’s reach from an audience perspective.”

This collaboration comes on the heels of EA’s separation from its long-standing partner, FIFA, in relation to the FIFA video game series. As a result, EA is now moving forward under the new independent name EA Sports FC. It is worth noting that FIFA has had a longstanding partnership with Pepsi’s competitor, Coca-Cola. With this shift, EA now has the freedom to expand its horizons and explore new opportunities.

Warner shed some light on the circumstances surrounding the partnership, stating, “Without getting into the details, there’d been some constraints on our ability to partner together… But because of some of the very strategic and exciting choices that EA have made, [there’s an] opportunity for us to come together and do some great stuff together.”

With Pepsi’s influential backing, EA is confident as it approaches the launch of the first EA Sports FC title, expected later this year. On the other hand, PepsiCo is optimistic that this major sponsorship deal will not only drive sales but also raise brand awareness.

Warner believes that this partnership will bolster brand equity for Pepsi, Gatorade, and Lay’s. These brands were selected due to their established heritage and equity in the football space, making them PepsiCo’s biggest global brand. Simultaneously, Warner expects the collaboration to generate momentum from a sales perspective. “Anything we do at scale—and what we’re doing with EA going forward certainly falls into that bracket—they’ve always got to drive against both of those objectives,” he explained.

While the focus of this partnership lies in gaming, Pepsi’s significant deal with EA Sports FC will undoubtedly benefit the industry as a whole, especially at a time when some brands reportedly express scepticism about the return on investment in the competitive gaming space.

However, Warner views esports as just one touchpoint within PepsiCo’s broader gaming strategy, one that the company has immense confidence in. “We see great scale and continued momentum in the gaming passion point,” he stated. “It is a priority now and will continue to be a priority going forward.”

In conclusion, the strategic partnership between PepsiCo and EA Sports represents a significant move by the food and beverage conglomerate to expand its brand influence within the gaming industry. By leveraging the popularity of EA’s upcoming title, PepsiCo aims to connect with a broader audience and deepen fan engagement within the football community. With a shared vision and strategic choices, both companies are poised to achieve their objectives and create exciting experiences for fans worldwide.