The Midem Artist Accelerator in partnership with Pepsi & Deezer is designed to support managers, agents, labels and publishers as they look to grow their artists’ profiles globally. Read our interview with Ellen Healy, senior marketing director at PepsiCo, on the ways Pepsi helps artists, creators and innovators boost their careers!


midemblog: Why did Pepsi decide to become a partner of the Midem Artist Accelerator? What do you hope to gain from the partnership?

Ellen Healy: We were looking for a partner to evolve our Pepsi Artist Accelerator programme and after what was an amazing experience last year with Midemlab, we looked to Midem to see if there were any synergies. It turned out there were, and that Midem had similar aspirations – to help artists, creators and innovators reach the next levels in their careers. Along with our mutual partner Deezer, we can share our knowledge and expertise within the conference framework, with a solid programme that we hope will have a significant effect on the careers of the 12 lucky finalists.


> What are the main ways Pepsi supports up-and-coming artists? 

Pepsi has a massive footprint in the emerging music stratosphere, including various regional sponsorships of juggernauts like The Voice and X-Factor in multiple countries, as well as developing our own programmes to support new artists in various markets. Of course, everyone would love a big TV sync, but those opportunities don’t come around as often as people think, so we are always trying to find alternative but meaningful programmes that satisfy mutual needs.


*   Beyonce Opening Act: We literally put buzzing emerging talent (identified with the help of our local markets) onto the biggest stage in the world… opening for Beyoncé on her Mrs. Carter World Tour. These artists were highlighted across the global Pepsi social media platforms, giving them unprecedented exposure to a global audience.

*   Pepsi PremiosMusic – Venezuela: A TV music awards show, created by Pepsi to give recognition to and celebrate local Venezuelan artists at all levels. Now entering its fourth successful year.

*   Pepsi Boot Camp – Middle East: A partnership with Sony Music to provide training for the the finalists from X-Factor Middle East. Pepsi then further expanded the partnership with Young Phaoroz (runner up season 1) to produce and launch their video single ‘Yalla bena ne3eesh’.

*   Pepsi Video Accelerator project in the U.S.: A monthly short form video content series created for/with selected artists pushed out to our millions of fans and followers.

*   Beats of The Beautiful Game: The first of its kind short film and music project supporting Football in 2014. This was a collaboration of songs and artists from around the world, pairing them with top-tier film directors, all in the spirit of celebrating the world’s most beloved sport. Our goal was to re-invent and reinvigorate the concept of a soundtrack, with the intersection of music, video and sport as the focus.


> What is truly unique about what Pepsi’s support of new artists? What specific in-house roles/teams does Pepsi have in this domain?

We have a small razor-sharp team that is dedicated to this effort, and we are always pow-wowing with our many friends on the label, management and publishing sides to identify the right talent that we can support in ways that can contribute to the individual artists’ vision. Unlike a lot of brands who try to just ride the train along with the “next big thing” we aim to thoughtfully work with artists to discover their passion points, and help them get closer to achieving them.

There is not a day that goes by that we don’t sit down and put our ideas through a specific filtration:  1. “How will this actually benefit the artist?”  and 2. “How can we do this in an authentic and impactful way for both the artist and our brands?” I think it’s something that all major brands struggle with, to be relevant in entertainment, but music has always been deeply ingrained into the Pepsi brand, and we are deeply committed to continually improving our relevance and making significant contributions to the industry, and most importantly to the music fans.


> What have been some of Pepsi’s best success stories in terms of supporting and launching new artists? 

It’s no secret that media can drive song recognition and awareness for an artist.  Our biggest successes have happened when we were able to elevate a song through our global television media buys. A recent example that we are particularly proud of is Let’s Go by Calvin Harris and Ne-yo, that we executively produced. We partnered the two artists to co-write one of our global football anthems. When we started, Calvin was early in his artist career  and the timing couldn’t have worked out better for all of us. We collaborated closely with Sony to time the release of the single which debuted at number 2 in the UK – at the same time we released our advertising campaign. The song sold hundreds of thousands of singles and charted in 20 countries, and… it was nominated for a Grammy for Best Dance Recording!


Pepsi, alongside Deezer, is a partner of the Midem Artist Accelerator, a brand new initiative in which 12 up-and-coming groups will be selected by an artistic committee — including Epic’s LA Reid, Pepsi’s Frank Cooper III, Harvey Goldsmith, Pitchfork’s Christopher Kaskie and many more — to play at Midem 2015 this June, and receive high-level advice and mentoring.

Top photo: Ellen Healy with Calvin Harris


About Author

James Martin is Head of Social Media for Midem organisers Reed MIDEM. This includes defining and rolling out Midem's social media strategy, editing midemblog, influencer outreach, developing Midem's fanbase of 75,000+ music professionals and more.

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