Pepsi and Chef Bobby Flay Get Fired Up for Summer Grilling

Beverage brand teams up with the grill master for the first time

For summer, Pepsi's hosting "Grills Night Out." That's grills, not "girls." Got that?

The beverage titan launches a big push today, just in time for America's favorite pastime—summer grilling. 

The brand partners with celebrity chef and grill master Bobby Flay to drive home its seasonal message across TV, social, live entertainment, retail and a sweepstakes.

Pepsi CMO Todd Kaplan points to food culture as "having a moment" across social and linear media—a moment the brand can leverage to join the consumer conversation. Working with well-known chefs like Flay adds authenticity, Kaplan says.

TV spots include "Prep," in which Flay dons his signature apron for a summer grilling session—and he shows off his chopping skills. Kool & the Gang’s "Ladies Night" provides the soundtrack as Flay walks viewers through an epic outdoor barbecue, with Pepsi Zero Sugar in tow.

In "Cook," friends ignite the grill in their backyard and rooftop patio, seasoning ribs, wings and corn while listening to "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer:

"Enjoy" shows a table filled with grilling faves and the song "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" by Frankie Vallie & The Four Seasons playing:

In "Carne Asada, Parrillada o Asado,"  set to the beat of "Danza Kuduro," a BBQ features Latin-inspired dishes:

Kaplan notes Pepsi's digital component—where Flay provides tips to consumers—across TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Pepsi has also collaborated with him two create two new limited-time flavors: Pepsi Peach and Pepsi Lime. 

Live stunts are in the works, with Pepsi making fun announcements throughout the summer to drive interest and excitement around grilling. On the retail front, the brand will place large and small displays in stores across the country.

"Specifically, when people are stocking up at retail stores during these times [Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day], we want them to buy a Pepsi to go with what they're enjoying at a grill—we want them to grab a Pepsi because we know grilling is 'Better with Pepsi,'" says Kaplan.

Pepsi has also partnered with Instacart for the Ultimate Grills Night Out Giveaway for consumers in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, who have a chance to win a ginormous bag filled with such items as Pepsi, grilling essentials and custom merchandise.

"You're going to see a lot more from us around Pepsi and food, and grilling as we get through the summer months that are around the corner here," says Kaplan. "There's just a lot of fun opportunities for us, especially with this finer mechanic of "Grills Night Out" that we can really get into, which I'm excited for everyone to see."

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