Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

The people have spoken! Which soft drink brand is BETTER? You’re about to find out here… [Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

June 11, 2021

There’s always been a competition among different brands in the same industry.

Let’s talk about soft drinks…

When it comes to these beverages, what do you think is the BETTER brand to pair with burgers?


A&W Root Beer?

Mountain Dew?

Well, the people in the US have spoken!

In May 2021, one of the leading soft drink companies commissioned a blind taste test to identify the ultimate brand that is #BetterWithBurgers.

Curious about what company we’re talking about?



Pepsi is a carbonated soft drink brand manufactured by the multinational food, snack, and beverage company, PepsiCo.

In its latest Guerrilla Marketing ad, the brand wanted consumers to know what they’re missing out in their favorite burger meals.

What was that?

Pepsi’s compatibility with burgers!

For over 30 years, the 3 biggest burger chains in the US―Burger King, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s―have not poured Pepsi products at their establishments due to exclusive deals with Coke.

The brand is only offered at other food establishments like Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC, Applebee’s, Dairy Queen, IHOP, and Buffalo Wild Wings.

So… what did Pepsi do to get the attention of customers of the Big 3 burger chains?

In line with National Hamburger Day on May 28, Pepsi staked its claim that it’s better with burgers through a brand activation that spanned digital, out-of-home, print, and social media.

That campaign was called…

The “#BetterWithPepsi” Campaign!

This started with a blind taste test conducted in Los Angeles during the first week of May.

While blindfolded, consumers were asked to identify which soft drink brand―Pepsi or Coke―tastes better while eating burgers.

The result of the test?

Around 60% of participants preferred McDonald’s Big Mac, Burger King’s Whopper, and Wendy’s Dave’s Single with Pepsi over Coke!

Meanwhile, a separate study involving a panel of taste experts said that Pepsi enhances the flavors in a Big Mac, Whopper, and Dave’s Single more than Coke.

As stated by Todd Kaplan, Vice President of Marketing at PepsiCo:

“We want to put a stake in the ground because we believe all burgers go better with Pepsi, no matter who makes them. We’re going to give everyone the chance to try Pepsi with their favorite burgers.”

To help spread the word about the campaign, Pepsi enlisted the services of marketing agencies, Alma and VaynerMedia to place ads on various digital channels and out-of-home spots in the US.

The campaign’s digital video spots and other marketing collaterals showed a fast-food mascot imagery that hinted they were Burger King, Ronald McDonald, and Wendy all enjoying their burgers with a can of Pepsi, but without their faces in view.


Pepsi ran print ads in several publications such as The New York Post’s Page Six and Forbes to optimize the campaign’s reach.

There were also out-of-home ads in select locations in the US including New York, Los Angeles, and the cities of Burger King, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s headquarters.

To add to that, Pepsi hired an origami artist for the campaign and developed visuals to reveal the brand’s “hidden logo” in existing fast-food iconography!

These images were also meant to hint that they were made from paper bags used for take out from Burger King, McDonald’s and Wendy’s (see photo below).


The message?

“Even when we are not on the menu, we are always in the picture.”

Pepsi also posted details about its campaign on social media together with the hashtags, #BetterWithPepsi and #NationalBurgerDay.


The brand handed out free drinks as well to get the public involved in the campaign.

All consumers had to do was post a photo of themselves drinking Pepsi while eating a burger from any restaurant of their choice on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The hashtag, #BetterWithPepsi, should be included in the caption.

Another option was through clicking on a #BetterWithPepsi ad on Facebook or Instagram. Once online users were directed to the campaign’s landing page, they could then share their proof of purchase.

Once the brand verified that the burger and beverage were purchased during National Hamburger Day, customers received a rebate via Venmo or PayPal, or a digital gift card up to USD 3.49 (almost the price of a 6×16.9 oz. bottle of Diet Pepsi)!

Now that’s another motivational way to get consumers to interact with Pepsi’s campaign!

The brand activation ran in the US for the whole month of May 2021.

Was Pepsi’s “#BetterWithPepsi” Campaign Effective?

Through the campaign, the soft drink brand was able to get the attention of consumers using the hidden logos and deliver its message that Pepsi has a unique taste that complements the flavor of burgers.

These are the results recorded after the duration of the campaign:

  • Pepsi’s Twitter post garnered 1,000+ retweets, 1,000+ quote tweets, and over 16,000 likes.
  • The “#BetterWithPepsi” Instagram post had more than 29,000 likes and 600 comments.
  • Pepsi’s Facebook post about the campaign gained over 12,000 likes, 1,000+ comments, and 7,000+ shares.
  • Across the three social media platforms, the campaign had a total of 73,000 user-generated content.
  • The campaign’s 16-second YouTube video recorded over 22,000 views just one day after it was released.

These numbers show how Pepsi’s campaign was able to reach a lot of consumers!

Aside from that, a few creative agency heads in Southeast Asia voiced out their thoughts regarding the brand activation.

Here are two of these messages:

“Soda beverages paired with burgers have been on the menu ever since it was created. For Pepsi to be known as the beverage of choice, it has used research data and art to demonstrate it. This superb pairing of using paper fold to resemble the iconic logo with the free-Pepsi-to-go-with-your-burger campaign further cements its claim.” – Benson Toh, Executive Creative Director at Tribal Worldwide

“Love the idea and execution! It’s clever, cheeky, yet tasteful! Really like the way Pepsi gets personal by responding to every Instagram comment. When a food or beverage product can’t be altered or improved further, it can always innovate the way it is being packaged (squirt bottle for condensed milk), innovate the way it’s being consumed (the Tim Tam Slam), propagate desirability (grey poupon) and moment association (Indomie Goreng and breakfast) or ideal pairing as in this campaign.” – Joseph Tan, CEO of ROMP Creative

According to PepsiCo’s Marketing Vice President, Todd Kaplan, Pepsi has a great heritage as a challenger brand―this wasn’t the first campaign where the brand pitted its products against Coke and other soft drink brands.

In Kaplan’s words:

“The reality is, for years, these burger chains have provided a very limited selection of beverage choices on their menu. We just thought it was a fun, very Pepsi way to get after it.”

The “#BetterWithPepsi” campaign helped reinforce the role that the brand plays in enhancing the taste of burgers.

Additionally, it reminded consumers that they have a choice when it comes to beverages!

Doesn’t this campaign make you curious about whether or not Pepsi’s claim is true?

You might want to try the taste test on your own!

Perhaps, you’ll also identify the difference between a burger paired with Pepsi and other soft drink brands.

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Friday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Friday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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