NEW YORK — The marketing executives at Pepsi want you to be "More Happy."
That, at least, is the new slogan for the soft drink, which corporate parent PepsiCo Inc. unveiled in an advertising campaign this week in the lead up to this year's Super Bowl XLI, the National Football League championship game.
The slogan is the first new tagline Pepsi has adopted since 2003, when the company adopted "Pepsi. It's the cola." Pepsi's main rival Coca-Cola Co. has had "Welcome to the Coke Side of Life" as its tagline since December 2005.
"One of the nice things about the word 'happy' is it's really multidimensional," said Russell Weiner, vice president of cola marketing at PepsiCo. "When you show consumers, they bring up words like invigorating, uplifting, exciting, fun. The beauty of the word happy is it kind of captures all of them."
One marketing expert said Pepsi could be taking a chance with their new tagline.
"I don't see 'More Happy' as being an especially breakthrough kind of slogan that will work its way deeply into the consumer consciousness," University of Michigan marketing professor Rajeev Batra said. "Coke had slogans that haven't resonated all that strongly and this one from Pepsi might fall into that category. It all depends on the execution of it."
As part of the campaign to promote its new slogan, PepsiCo will introduce new can designs.
Since 1898, Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo has changed the design of its can a total of 10 times. This year, it plans to launch 35 new designs, with a new one introduced every three weeks. Each come with a hyperlink that sends consumers to a themed Web site.
One of the first sends consumers to a Web site where they are invited to enter a 60-day contest to design a billboard that will hang in Times Square in Manhattan beginning in April.
TV advertisements unveiling the "More Happy" slogan are scheduled to air on the Pepsi Smash Super Bowl Bash 2007 show on VH1 airing Saturday night, on the JumboTron during the game on Sunday and again at midnight Sunday.
The first two television ads, called Beach Ball and Pin Ball, feature a red, white and blue ball that company executives call the Pepsi globe. A 30-second version of the Pin Ball ad appeared first on Wednesday and Thursday night. Beach Ball will debut on the Pepsi Smash show, which will feature performances by the musicians Kanye West, Fergie and Ludacris.
Other musicians included in the PepsiCo campaign are country music band Big and Rich and hip hop star Pharrell. Each have their own can design.
Batra, who is the Sebastian S. Kresge Professor of Marketing & Director of the Yaffee Center for Persuasive Communication, said companies today might be driven to change their taglines more often.
"Maybe there is a need for more rapid changes in things like slogans to break through the clutter," he said.
Past slogans have been "Pepsi: The Choice of a New Generation," "You Got the Right One Baby," "Be Young, Have Fun, Drink Pepsi" and "The Joy of Cola."
Early marketing slogans include ones such as "Twice as Much for a Nickel" (1939), "Taste That Beats the Others Cold. Pepsi Pours It On" (1967) and "Join the Pepsi People, Feelin' Free" (1973).
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