One Direction + Drew Brees = A social media goldmine for Pepsi

To build buzz for it’s new commercial, the soda-maker started working Twitter and Facebook early.

Andrew Burton

September 2

One direction, A.K.A. 1D, the enormously popular boy band from The X Factor, secretly films a commercial with Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Pepsi tweets hints about it to 1D’s superfans. “The boys are filming a pepsi commercial???!?!...ohmygod im gonna die!!!” one fan tweets in response.

September 6

1D performs its hit, “One Thing,” at the MTV Video Music Awards. The awards will be the second most social TV event in history, according to Bluefin, and 1D’s Niall Horan will garner more mentions than any other artist.

September 11

Bluefin finds a surprise: Pepsi is the most discussed brand on Twitter, but not because of a new ad, with some 19,000 comments. Like a social seismograph, Bluefin has detected a coming pop culture earthquake.

October 10


Ahead of the ad’s premiere on The X Factor (where 30-seconds costs nearly $250,000), Pepsi posts it to YouTube. It gets more than 300,000 views in a day. “Pepsi” and “1DPepsi” trend worldwide.

October 11-17

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The hit ad drives 70% of Pepsi’s social commentary the week of its launch, while airing only 20 times. Pepsi will be the most discussed brand on Twitter for weeks.