Lipton is looking to be ‘relevant for millennials and Gen Z’ with experiential, digital ads as well as partnership with T-Pain

Illustration of two people standing back-to-back in colorful clothing and taking selfies.

Lipton is looking for ways to better appeal to millennial and Gen Z audiences. The tea brand, owned by PepsiCo, is doing so with experiential marketing including a festival hosted by T-Pain as well as digital video, social media and out-of-home spots featuring the entertainer.

At the same time, the company is looking to foster a deeper connection with local communities with its festival, dubbed Lipton’s Fam Fest, which will feature Black-owned restaurants serving food, limited-edition merchandise and Lipton Iced Tea, among other activities. T-Pain will have a special performance at the end of the party to cap off the event.


Experiential marketing: Festival and OOH spots featuring T-Pain, digital video, social media; Fostering connections with communities: Lipton’s Fam Fest (with Black-owned restaurants and limited-edition merch), giveaways.

In conjunction with this campaign, Lipton hosted a contest in which fans could enter the Lipton Fam Fest Hosted by T-Pain contest until August 28, by scanning the code in participating stores. They were asked to share how they contribute to the building of a better community to enter to win a $10,000 grant and tickets to the festival.

Overall, Lipton has a “more millennial focus” with its marketing currently, per Chauncey Hamlett, vp and CMO at PepsiCo Beverages of North America, adding that the brand is continuing to work with T-Pain as “he’s relevant for millennials and also Gen Z. He’s someone who has a broader reach.”

In the new campaign, titled “Have Some Tea with Cousin T,” T-Pain reprises the role of the titular character from last year’s marketing blitz. “You’ll see this campaign come to life across multiple retail outlets and stores with signage and imagery around T-Pain and the program as well,” said Hamlett as the digital spots will be on social channels such as Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube and the OOH component will be display boards across retailers.

Taking into account this aspect of the topic, Lipton will be looking at how they can reach a larger audience to engage more effectively. In addition to the award, winners will receive a gift box with a Lipton Iced Tea tasting kit and restaurant gift cards as a tribute to their community impact. “You’ll see this campaign come to life across multiple retail outlets and stores with signage and imagery around T-Pain and the program as well,” said Hamlett.

It is unclear how much of its advertising budget is allocated to marketing initiatives as Hamlett would not share overall budget specifics. According to Kantar, Lipton’s parent company PepsiCo spent close to $674 million on advertising in 2021 and close to $162 million so far for 2022 on marketing efforts through digital and OOH displays. Hamlett noted that the spend was more attributed to influencer marketing and digital ads across social media than on OOH displays. The company also added that this year and in the future “experiential moments will continue to play a part in the strategy this year and beyond.”

Pepsi continues to innovate and find ways for customers to engage with their products and promotions.
Ryan Detert, CEO, Influential

In today’s world, block parties are as much a part of the culture of community celebration as they are a part of the music industry, making Lipton’s campaign the ideal platform for bringing T-Pain’s “Cousin T” to life for his fans. Ryan Detert, CEO of the AI social data and conversion technology company Influential chimed in, “Pepsi continues to innovate and find ways for customers to engage with their products and promotions. Contesting and celebrity performances are a tactic, but the content is what needs to resonate and they have seen great success with the “Cousin T” episodic miniseries.”

Lipton is not the only beverage brand that used music artists for campaigns; recently, Sprite and Dr. Pepper also combined the flavors of music and their brand to reach millennials and Gen Z to bring people together.

“It is impressive to see brands working to inspire genuine opportunities for community outreach and togetherness,” said Amanda Thurston, partner at Prophet, a growth strategy consulting firm. “Adding the component of the grant helps to incorporate not only the end consumer but also the businesses and traditional trade vendors who are critical members of the PepsiCo value chain.”

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