Pepsi, the official drink of the National Football League, has shifted its strategy from television to digital. Other than its absence from NFL commercial breaks, the change is most evident in a series of YouTube videos showing NFL players Andy Dalton, Matt Stafford and Nick Mangold making surprise appearances at Pepsi retailers. The three videos have gathered more than 4 million views on YouTube (not counting views of videos embedded on social media) according to Pepsi’s brand marketing director.

Pepsi’s digital video efforts are not an anomaly among beverage brands. In fact, 98% of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beverages are present on YouTube even though they post sparingly (on average 18.3 videos total). Beer brands repurpose commercials but non-beer brands post long-form videos that don’t work as television slots.

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Pepsi was the third most-viewed beverage brand channel in the 2014 study released in September.

text-1 (8)Its most popular video Uncle Drew had 34,000 views, which pales in comparison to the NFL campaign results.

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The boost from the 2014 NFL campaign could push Pepsi views to surpass those of YouTube competitors Red Bull and Coca-Cola for next year’s study.

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