Pepsi's Nostalgic 125 Diner Opens Its Doors in NYC
As part of its 125th-birthday celebration, PepsiCo launched a pop-up diner last week at 477 Broadway in NYC.
The venue was intended to have a brief run—no more than 10 days. But there's a waitlist 17,000 strong, so the brand may keep the activation up and running a while longer, CMO Todd Kaplan tells Muse.
Brand memorabilia and video screens decorate the walls. The latter show Pepsi commercials on a continuous loop. These include supermodel Cindy Crawford's famous 1992 Super Bowl ad, in which she knocks back a Pepsi as tween boys swoon; soccer icon David Beckham's 2003 spaghetti western; and Britney Spears' "Joy of Cola" from 22 years ago.
Throughout the dining area, signage glows neon blue, and silvery table surfaces echo sleek diner styles of the 1940s and '50s. An updated take on the "Pepsi Challenge" taste test greets guests at the door.
Menu items include chicken and waffles with Pepsi-flavored maple syrup. The PILk Float is on the menu, and fans can order "Cheers to 125 Years" cocktails made with Bulleit Bourbon.
"People want to spend a couple hours with your brand," Kaplan says. "You really have to go deep on how you immerse them in the experience and be very thoughtful around every little element of the execution."
Past product innovations on display include Crystal Pepsi and Pepsi Free. Some of the booths rock Super Bowl half-time themes, and there's a glitzy homage to Cardi B’s "Okurrr" from 2019.
Honoring Pepsi's deep ties to pop culture is critical, but embracing contemporary cues is equally important, Kaplan says.
"A lot of our new visual identity we just launched is about looking forward," he says. "It's made for the digital era. It's got this kind of animation about it, but the logo is still a very familiar look and feel to our brand—bold, [one that] challenges your vibe. We've been very carefully crafting a lot of that as we look at our current activations, and what we're going to be doing moving forward, but also, remembering and acknowledging a lot of the great heritage that has come before us because it's a really special brand."