Pepsi Max brings the grime this Christmas in festive campaign

Campaign features grime artists Kamakaze and TrueMendous.

Pepsi Max has enlisted UK grime and rap artists Kamakaze and TrueMendous for its Christmas campaign, encouraging people to try something new this festive season.

Created by Truant, “Christmas refreshed” shows Kamakaze and TrueMendous as they declare: “Traditional is so cliché.”

The pair rap as they step away from the longstanding tropes of the festive season, replacing festive jumpers with hoodies and the Christmas tree with a palm tree.

Launched today (2 November), alongside out-of-home activity, the work was created by Charlie Lindsay and George Bartlett, and directed by Paul Casey and Rich Jobson through Dark Energy Films. The media agency is OMD. 

“There's a lot of sentimental advertising going on that pulls at the heartstrings, but this is a fresh take on that,” Natalie Redford, UK marketing director for Pepsi Beverages, told Campaign.

The “Christmas refreshed” campaign follows last year’s “Try a new tradition this Christmas” ad, which featured surfers as they hit the water on neon-lit surfboards.

“The year has been so uncertain, and whilst a lot of us are craving normality and holding on to some of those things that we want to call back, there's an opportunity to also add something this year," Redford said. 

“We're going into Christmas, and rather than resisting the uncertainty of how that looks, embracing that change and freshening it up is a nice opportunity and a shared experience."

The campaign, which is set to include social activations focusing on the meaning of Christmas, will also be launched in European markets, including Ireland, the Nordics and the Netherlands.

Redford continued: “We are all going through [the pandemic] at the same time, so it's an opportunity to put a new stamp on Christmas.”

The Pepsi marketing director also noted that music has always played a strong role in Pepsi’s advertising.

Last year, rapper Cardi B gave away money in a Christmas Carol-esque ad for Pepsi Max.

Pepsi also partnered music festival Global Citizen to produce a live-streamed concert featuring Lady Gaga, in support of frontline healthcare workers and the WHO during the coronavirus pandemic.

TrueMendous said: “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Kamakaze and Pepsi Max – the creative process was a lot of fun, blending our styles to complement each other, coming up with the lyrics and the beats for the ad. 

“We are so excited to have created something so impactful, dynamic and just different, something that is definitely needed right now.”

The Pepsi brand also continues to work with Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which has parted ways with PepsiCo brands Walkers and Doritos, and is currently facing a review for its Quaker business.

Grime music has featured in several prominent ads in recent years, including work for Zoopla and Ikea’s 2019 Christmas campaign “Silence the critics”.

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