4 branding lessons from PepsiCo at Dubai Expo 2020

PepsiCo was named the official beverage and snack partner of Expo 2020 Dubai over two years ago.
The Expo will begin on October 1, 2021, and is expected to be one of the biggest in history, unparalleled in size and global participation.
PepsiCo has taken several steps to make the most out of its partnership and stay on top of the game.


Here are a few lessons in branding we can learn from the corporate giant:

1. Make the most of a good opportunity

PepsiCo saw through Expo 2020 a chance to showcase its diverse range of products to the world, get new business partners, and discover new markets.
Expo 2020 is a perfect fit for PepsiCo due to its shared values and goals. PepsiCo has been taking several steps to build and develop policies of sustainability for more than a decade. It has also been focusing on ways to make sustainable changes across its supply chain.
In May, five months before the expo, PepsiCo launched new Aquafina bottles made of fully recyclable aluminum cans and glass. These infinitely recyclable bottles also carry the Expo 2020 logo.

2. Grab attention

PepsiCo has, not one, but three attention-grabbing pavilions at Expo 2020. They have been designed to stand out for their design and colors.
The Drop, PepsiCo’s Aquafina.

pavilion, is shaped like a giant water droplet. Made from recyclable cans, the pavilion showcases the brand’s activities to reduce wastage of water, such as helping farmers worldwide with sustainable water practices, smart use of water in manufacturing, as well as PepsiCo’s dedication to invent more sustainable packaging methods. It promises to be an interactive space for visitors.
The Bolt aims to recreate Gatorade’s Sports Science Institute. It will feature interactive games and has a picture gallery of athletes who have endorsed the brand.
The Plus is inspired by PepsiCo’s most successful brands — Lay’s and Pepsi. The joint pavilion aims to encourage innovation and collaboration.

3. Strive for an emotional connect

PepsiCo has taken steps to make itself a relevant brand both locally and globally. For instance, an advertisement PepsiCo released in 2019 announcing its partnership with Expo 2020 had football legend Messi.
The video begins with Messi, kicking a ball from the deserts of Dubai to Abu Dhabi. From there, the ball was passed on around the world (Saudi Arabia, India, the UK, the US, and finally Africa) by various people.
The ad seeks to strike an emotional chord and stresses unity and collaboration through football, a sport people in the Middle East are passionate about, hence giving it both a local and international flavor and symbolising the global impact the Expo is going to have.

4. Never lose sight of long term goals

PepsiCo has a clear idea of its long-term goals, and it decided to use the Expo and its reach to achieve them. One of its larger-than-life agendas was to bring 100% recyclable packaging mainstream.

Investing into recyclable packaging can be expensive for companies. But, when shift companies shift to offering recyclable packing, the demand for it increases, bringing down costs. By showcasing innovations and new technologies involved in the making and use of recyclable packaging at the Expo, PepsiCo hopes to take the lead in bringing about change.

Aamer Sheikh, president, and general manager, PepsiCo MENA and Pakistan, told in an interview with Caterer Middle East that it is costly to invest in sustainable packaging.

“Unless big corporations set the precedent, it is not affordable for SMEs, with all the will in the world, to find the resources or the capital to do their part. It is a journey we must be on together and more of us need to be challenged to do more – so that ambitious and disruptive players have a supportive environment to build bigger and better businesses,” he said.

Undoubtedly, there will be a lot more to learn from the corporate giant once the Expo is underway as it, in its own words, seeks to ‘challenge today, to change tomorrow’.

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