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Going Back to the Eighties with PepsiCo

10th September 2020 by CH

The Brief

PepsiCo asked us to produce a video to promote their brilliant and expansive online learning and social platform PEP University or ‘PEP U’.

Rather than opting for a typical ‘explainer’ video, we wanted to create a bigger and better campaign-led set of visual assets that our client could share throughout their digital platforms.

We needed a powerful tagline and memorable visual collateral – something great to look at and fun to watch.

Don’t Stop Believin’

We settled on a questionably stylish 1980’s world to help PepsiCo colleagues feel that the jump from the incumbent online platform to the more fully featured PEP U (powered by Degreed) was like time-travelling into the future.

Our ‘before’ scenarios were three character focussed scenes in a recognisable retro style. Our future was depicted by a hand that comes into frame, presenting a modern smartphone which offers an enlightened brave new world.

We designed three one-wall sets to broadly distil the 80’s vibe and house our actors who were meticulously cast to be our three retro time travellers. Researching and designing costumes, hair styles and make up looks was a lot of fun. The 80’s offered a wealth of options for us to pick from – from very odd tones for a drab office to the electric colours of the growing keep fit trend of the time.

The Land of Make Believe

We planned three days in the studio to build, dress, light, shoot and photograph the 80’s content. Sourcing the exact props that we needed for the rooms as well as recreating authentically branded PepsiCo products from the eighties was, as you might imagine, both great fun and an involved process but we love a challenge. The room next to the studio was chock full of ancient ‘tech’ and furniture – an 80’s throwback!

Each scenario was planned to encompass tones from a branded colour palette so making and sourcing elements of the set and costume to our chosen colours was essential.

With a reduced schedule in the studio (including building and striking the sets) we needed to plan to the minute. Precise storyboarding, working to exact shot lists and scheduling everything meant we had a fair chance of completing.

Livin’ on a Prayer

As we were planning, the shoot was threatened by the looming lockdown due to Coronavirus. Each day became a race to get the production over the line before we’d possibly be forced to stop. Shoot days are traditionally long but the cast and crew really pulled together to get everything across the line.

Our cast looked brilliant, the carefully lit sets looked excellent on camera and the video and photographic shoot delivered everything our client wanted.

Push It

Into post production we went! To make versions of the content that were relevant in twelve different languages, we devised a process whereby all standalone narrative text and text within the props themselves had the ability to be replaced in the local language.

The edit, graphics and colour grading also included cinemagraphs which meant that elements of the video had to be broken down, masked, tracked, stabilised and looped for the final effect. A time-consuming job but our client agreed, the end result is fantastic.

To deliver content that could be used across lots of digital channels, we produced one 60 second hero video, teaser and launch cinemagraph versions of all three 1980’s characters, alongside varieties of still photographs.

Take On Me

We love going that bit further to suggest creative ideas for our clients when the project needs something special. Our efforts for PepsiCo’s PEP U platform elevated what could have been a simple walkthrough explainer video to a ‘campaignable’, explosive celebration of the 80’s with a clear message around the more exciting PEP U offering.


You don’t have to get in the TARDIS to make effective videos. Say hello@ch-video.com to see how we add value and creativity to everything we do.

ch Video

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