When Katy Perry takes the mic for a song during Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards, the cable channel will temporarily shift focus from inside the event's arena—Brooklyn's Barclays Center—to her performance's secret "iconic location" in the New York City borough. Considering Perry's penchant for tweet-worthy outfits, coupled with the outdoor scenery, Twitter will likely buzz with chatter about the pop star's antics.
Pepsi, a major sponsor for the Viacom event, plans to own the moment in terms of branding as it has forged a partnership with Perry that includes a social-media twist. The soda brand, singer and MTV will encourage people to use the hashtag #Katynow to unlock clues about her forthcoming, full-length album, Prism. Clues will involve song titles and lyrics as well as video messages from the performer about the inspiration behind her tunes.
Throughout the weekend, people can utilize the clues to listen to two songs from her album via a Pepsi microsite and then vote for one by tweeting the title along with #KatyNow. The winning song will be revealed on MTV moments before Perry's VMA performance and then become available as her next single on Sept. 17 (though the entire album goes to market in mid-October). During the VMAs, Perry will sing her first release from the record, Roar, which has reportedly been a veritable hit in terms of paid downloads so far.
Chad Stubbs, senior director of marketing for PepsiCo, and his team believe overall brand engagement will spike during Perry's outdoor performance against a Brooklyn backdrop.
"We wanted to really blow this out with an iconic artist and an iconic location," he said. "It will make for great television."
Pepsi will run TV spots while repeatedly appearing as a sponsor during MTV's telecast. Also that night, the soda maker will offer consumers a complimentary download of Perry's Roar if they sign up with Pepsi's rewards platform.
For Pepsi and Perry, the development builds on a relationship that began last year around promotions for the entertainer's Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D movie. And it marks yet another music-based appeal made by the top beverage giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, which have been inking huge deals with big-time artists such as Beyonce Knowles (Pepsi) and Taylor Swift (Diet Coke).