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July 30, 2019

PROMOTIONAL PERFECTION: How Pepsi leveraged the power of TikTok in their latest campaign!

Each month, we here at Sales Promotions will take one of the most successful campaigns we’ve seen lately, break it down and explore exactly why it was so successful. This month, we are going to take a look at Pepsi, and their recent ‘Har Goont Mein Swag’ anthem and how they worked it into their latest promotion.

As all the latest trends will tell you, video content is one of the most engaging and successful types of content that a brand can use to capture their audience. When used effectively, video will not only get your audience to sit up and pay attention, it will evoke responses from them, encourage engagement and most importantly, make a lasting impression. ‘51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI’ (Wordstream).


In the case of Pepsi, the target market here is India. Recently, Pepsico have had trouble building a rapport with their Indian audience, with most of the most recent campaigns failing to strike a chord. With this campaign they took something that has always worked well for the brand; music. In the process of introducing their newest ‘anthem’ to the world, Pepsi created a music video featuring 3 of India’s millennial icons – Disha Patani, Tiger Shroff and Badshah. It features a dance sequence and of course the catchy song itself. Check out the video here. (As of today, the video has 131 million views!)

Although the video itself was a wonderful promotional tool, Pepsi did not rest there. They utilized the stars of the music video, Disha Patani and tiger Shroff and turned to a newer platform for them – TIK TOK. Just for some scope here, TIK TOK have over 500 million active daily users, as of 2018 (, with 20 million of those being in India alone. As of yet, TIK TOK is pretty much an untapped source regarding branding/advertising. Pepsi saw an opportunity and grabbed it.

User Generated Content

Both Patani and Shroff encouraged TIK TOK users to create and share their versions of the ‘hook step’ as seen in the video. They created and promoted the hashtag #SwagStepChallenge, which currently has 18.7 billion views… yes BILLION. They also promoted the challenge on Instagram, where they’ve accumulated even more traction and engagement. And that there is the key word for this promotion, engagement. The campaign not only created brand awareness, it lead to a massive amount of user-generated content. ‘56% of consumers say UGC photos and videos are the content they most want to see from brands’ according to In further research, you learn the engagement increases by 28% when viewers are presented with a balance of UGC and content direct from the brand (SEMresuh).

Aside from directly contributing to revenue, the best thing a campaign or promotion can do is increase brand awareness and engagement, which is why we can label this a big win for Pepsi. Not only did they realise that music was their strongest weapon, they took note of their target audience and chose stars that would appeal to them. We can all agree that there is nothing worse than a mismatch between a brand and a celebrity used in promotional activity.

So there we have it, an absolutely fantastic campaign from Pepsi, in a market they had previously lost touch with. This is one of the big take-aways from this campaign, it is crucial not to give up on a market where you feel that the connection is lost, just take a step back, re-asses, re-group and take the time to focus on what your market will relate to, will engage with and what can help portray your brand in a positive light for those in the target audience. Not all campaigns or promotions need to be focused on product sales or increased revenue, sometimes brand awareness or relationship building can be reason enough to run with an idea.