In a novel attempt to fight back against declining fizzy drink sales, PepsiCo’s 7Up brand is trying to tap into new consumption occasions by promoting the sugary beverage as an ingredient in dishes ranging from cakes to kimchee in its new Mix It Up campaign which has debuted in the US.  

The fun and upbeat advertising is fronted by 80s rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot, in an attempt to target the Millennial generation; who are not only experimental in their consumption habits – 63 per cent of 18-34 year olds often or sometimes experiment with new and unusual flavors according to research from GlobalData – but also love to share these experiences online.

According to GlobalData, 68 per cent of millennials (18-34 year olds) around the world share a picture of their food on social media at least once a month. While sharing an image of a can or bottle of fizzy drink online is not necessarily an appealing prospect, the brand has recognised the potential for consumers to post images of things they have made or experienced using the beverage, such as freshly baked cakes and cocktails.

While the Mix-it-Up campaign may help to boost usage among existing consumers, it is unlikely to reverse the long-term decline in sugary soft drink sales given the mixed messaging around the recipes currently being promoted. Declining sales are strongly linked to growing consumer health consciousness, yet the featured recipes include mostly indulgent treats which do little to attract those consumers who are shunning the category for health reasons, yet are perhaps not unique or exciting enough to attract experimental Millennials. The choice of celebrity endorsement for the campaign is perhaps also mis-targeted as Sir Mix-A-Lot’s back-catalogue of hits is unlikely to resonate with consumers of Millennial age.

If 7Up, and indeed other soft drinks brands, can expand upon the concept to offer a wider range of more on-trend and “Instagram-able” recipes which will excite the sharing generation (for example, the colourful “unicorn” trend) there is strong potential to use it as vehicle to raise brand awareness and drive consumption. The challenge for brands it to ensure the messaging and recipes align to current trends, to get people talking about – and sharing – their creations.