Rockstar begins campaign with a lot of grit (and glory)

Who: Pepsi’s Rockstar Energy Drink, with BBDO for creative; Praxis for PR and social / influencer; Shakermaker for talent; and OMD for media.

What: “Grit Behind the Glory,” a social content campaign featuring two up-and-coming Canadian artists—Preston Pablo and Akintoye—showing their hard work (AKA: their grit) in pursuit of greatness (their glory), fueled in part by Rockstar.

When & Where: The campaign is live now, with mostly short-form video on owned social channels (for Rockstar, as well as Pablo and Akintoye) and some paid ads on popular digital channels like Spotify, Twitch and Reddit.

Why: As a brand, Rockstar positions itself as the energy drink that “supports people in the pursuit of their passions and goals,” said Reid Black, senior director of marketing for Rockstar.

Consumer research revealed that music is an important passion for the target audience. And both of the featured musicians are known for their hustle, rising from unknown performers sharing their music on social, to breakthrough performers gaining respect across the industry.

“Importantly, this audience knows that these artists were not overnight sensations, and they relate with their journey, which inspires their own pursuit of their ambitions,” said Reid.

Rockstar has sponsored celebrities before, but “the focus on the grit and the hard work that goes into the journey vs celebrating the glory is what makes this new campaign unique,” he said.

“As the campaign evolves, Rockstar plans to work with artists like Preston and Akintoye, who authentically share their passion and determination.”

How: The content is a mixture of short-form ads and DIY day-in-the-life style videos, where the artists talk about their own hard work to achieve what they have, with help from Rockstar. “Akintoye wrote 267 songs before his 268th song went viral,” reads the copy under one 15-second video posted to YouTube. “Rockstar Energy Drink is thrilled to be supporting Akintoye’s #GritBehindTheGlory.”

@yeahitsak Check out my exclusive BTS getting ready for my first ever music festival, with help from @Rockstar Energy Canada #Ad #GritBehindTheGlory #rockstarenergydrink ♬ original sound – Akintoye

“These artists were chosen to kick off this new campaign because their careers epitomize the idea of rising from ‘grit to glory,’” said Reid. “People have loved watching their journey from unknown social talent to industry artists.”

In terms of reach and awareness, Rockstar wants to leverage both artists’ followers (Akintoye has 2.8 million on TikTok, while Preston has 118,000), while also reaching consumers who may not have heard of the artists before but will appreciate their story.

“Leaning into their followings helps us to reach out to consumers who will [identify] with the messaging behind the campaign,” said Reid. “Our testing shows that this campaign is resonating with both fans of the artists and those who are discovering them for the first time. The appeal goes beyond the music; it’s hearing the story of the artists’ journeys and getting an inside look at their persistence and determination to follow their dreams.”

David Brown