Hoping to revitalize a brand tormented by sluggish sales and angry investors, PepsiCo enlisted hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj to lead a new global marketing campaign for its flagship cola, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. The endorsement deal with Minaj is one piece of PepsiCo’s estimated $600 million marketing budget in 2012, an increase of 15 to 20 percent from last year.
Minaj, a Trinidadian-born musician known for her flamboyant persona and colorful wigs, took the music world by storm in late 2010 with her debut album, Pink Friday. The album was certified platinum within a month of its release and Minaj quickly became the first female solo artist with seven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. Minaj performed with Madonna – herself a former Pepsi spokesperson – at the recent Super Bowl halftime show, and is set to release her second album in April.
Executives close to the campaign told the Journal that Pepsi-Cola’s new marketing strategy is about creating ads that capture the excitement of “now” and “being timely.” Along with Minaj, the company will enlist other well-known celebrities and “people who define the now” as part of the effort. PepsiCo plans to roll out the new marketing campaign in two phases. The first phase will launch in the U.S. in April, and the second is expected to be unveiled internationally over the course of 18 months.