Pepsi MAX celebrates the changemakers driving the future of football – on and off the pitch

Pepsi MAX has unveiled its annual global football campaign, building upon the brand’s continued premiere partnership with the UEFA Champions League.

“Play to Inspire” leads with a high-energy creative directed by Ernest Desumbila, Barcelona’s multi award-winning filmmaker, celebrating the changemakers driving football’s present and future – on and off the pitch. In true Pepsi MAX style, the campaign features a world-class player line-up, an infectious music track, and members of the “Pepsi Collective,” a curated group of vibrant up-and-coming talent from around the globe.

Returning all-time GOAT and seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi and world champion Paul Pogba welcome two exciting additions to the Pepsi squad: Lucy Bronze, today’s most decorated English player, and Brazilian footballing legend Ronaldinho, who previously featured in iconic Pepsi ads in the early 2000s.

It wouldn’t be a Pepsi MAX campaign without an attention-grabbing track as the brand continues to create innovative music on a global scale. This year, Pepsi MAX partnered with hip-hop and R&B icon Montell Jordan for a refreshed take of his 90s classic, ‘This Is How We Do It.’ The reimagined song, ‘Mama I Made It (How We Do It),’ pairs artist Say Mo’s vocals alongside Jordan and was produced exclusively for the Pepsi MAX “Play to Inspire” campaign by Grammy-winning female duo Nova Wav and Sean Douglas.

“Play to Inspire” leverages its global scale to introduce the world to ambitious creatives with unique talent and inspiring stories, with purposeful intent to drive those with equal passion that anything is within reach. The “Pepsi Collective” members each play a role in the campaign and include:

– leading Mexican freestyle champion Paloma Pujol Mayo and trailblazing UK women’s grassroots coach Iqra Ismail alongside her team, Hilltop FC, starring in the creative;

– award-winning U.S. photographer Mel D Cole, who captured intimate portraits and striking behind-the-scenes photography on-set;

– forward-thinking fashion designer Nithsaya, who was enlisted to reimagine the iconic Pepsi football jersey; and

– Dubai-based graphic designer Dina Sami who created supporting bespoke graphics and visuals, including a striking mural that appears in the ad.

“Pepsi is the entertainment beat of football. We champion talent both on and off the pitch, always looking to bring unique, exciting campaigns that the world loves to see and be part of,” said Pepsi Senior Director, Global Marketing, Michael Walford. “This year, we’re recognizing the beautiful game as it is today – from the iconic to the up & coming – celebrating how everyone is building the game together.”

The campaign was teased earlier this month when Messi and Ronaldinho posted themselves playing a game of ‘Pepsi Pong’. Fans all over the world were quickly abuzz when it dropped, confirming Ronaldinho’s return to Pepsi MAX and showing the dynamic duo on the same team once again.

Throughout the “Play to Inspire” campaign, the brand will look to inspire the next generation of football talent and cultural pioneers through the Pepsi MAX athletes’ and Collective’s personal past, present and future stories and ambitions shared in a digital content series. With Pepsi MAX also partnering with British fashion designer Liam Hodges to create a limited-edition capsule collection inspired by the brand’s rich football heritage and this year’s future-thinking campaign to go on sale in Spring 2022.

Additionally, Pepsi MAX and its global customers KFC and Pizza Hut will lean into consumers’ passion for food with multi-platform marketing initiatives featuring bespoke, entertaining content starring Pogba.

Join the conversation online with #PLAYTOINSPIRE.

Athlete Supporting Statements:

Leo Messi: “It’s always great to be back with the Pepsi team. Pepsi is a brand that celebrates doing things in your own way, and that is something that has always resonated with me. This year is no different and I am personally inspired to share the message that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from or how crazy your dream is. You have to go after it with passion and dedication to achieve everything you want.”

Paul Pogba:
“Every year these campaigns get bigger and better, and this year it’s all about inspiring the next generation and changemakers in the game – on and off the pitch. It was great to work with the passionate and inspired Pepsi Collective members.”

Lucy Bronze: “I’m so excited to be joining the Pepsi team and appearing alongside so many iconic players and inspiring people impacting the game. The energy on set was amazing, and I hope fans enjoy the campaign and its message to reach for the top.”

Ronaldinho: “I am so happy to be back in a Pepsi jersey again! I love that this campaign is all about inspiring the next generation of football talent and playing the passion forward.”

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