Global Citizen Teams With Pepsi for Virtual Concert to Help Those Impacted by COVID-19

Pepsi shifts marketing priorities to help produce global broadcast

The broadcast will air across multiple networks and streaming platforms on April 18. - Credit by Pepsi, Global Citizen
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As brands continue pivoting to virtual experiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Global Citizen and Pepsi have partnered to produce a one-night, international livestreamed event to highlight healthcare workers and amplify the efforts of organizations providing aid to those impacted by the crisis.

Global Citizen, an international advocacy platform dedicated to ending extreme poverty by 2030, will host One World: Together at Home, a Live Aid-style broadcast of musical performances recorded in musicians’ homes, interspersed with footage of healthcare workers’ experiences fighting the disease and PSAs from world leaders, athletes and activists.

In a rare show of solidarity, late-night talk show rivals Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert will co-host the broadcast, alongside characters from Sesame Street.

The lineup of musical performers, curated in collaboration with Lady Gaga, includes Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Burna Boy, Chris Martin of Coldplay, David Beckham, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, Finneas, Idris and Sabrina Elba, J Balvin, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lang Lang, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Shah Rukh Khan and Stevie Wonder.

The broadcast will air live on April 18 beginning at 5 p.m. EST on these networks:

  • NBCUniversal: NBC, Bravo, E!, MSNBC, MSNBC.com, NBCSN, NBC News, NBCNews.com, NBC News on YouTube, Peacock, Syfy and USA
  • Walt Disney Television: ABC, ABC News, ABC News Live, Freeform and Nat Geo
  • ViacomCBS: CBS, Channel 5 in the UK, Network 10 in Australia and Telefe in Argentina; BET and MTV globally across more than 180 countries; and CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land and VH1 in the U.S.
  • Bell Media platforms in Canada, MultiChoice and RTE
  • BBC One will broadcast an edited version of the event for U.K. audiences on April 19.

The multihour program will also be broadcast on iHeartMedia stations and stream online on multiple platforms: Alibaba, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, LiveXLive, Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, Tidal, TuneIn, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube. The digital stream will feature additional performances and more stories from the people on the front lines of the pandemic.

“As we honor and support the heroic efforts of community health workers, One World: Together at Home aims to serve as a source of unity and encouragement in the global fight to end COVID-19,” said Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen, in a statement. “Through music, entertainment and impact, the global live-cast will celebrate those who risk their own health to safeguard everyone else’s.”

According to Pepsi’s vp of marketing, Todd Kaplan, the brand has suspended its “That’s What I Like” campaign indefinitely to reallocate its marketing efforts and full U.S. TV and digital media spend to support the promotion and production of the broadcast. Kaplan explained that Pepsi was looking for a method to bring people together while they’re apart, specifically through music.

“Pepsi hopes to bring people all over the world together to support a common cause through the power of music and entertainment,” Kaplan said. “Having worked together previously—most recently the 2018 Global Citizen Zero Waste Festival—we knew that Global Citizen would be the perfect partner for such a task.”

Pepsi is working with numerous agency partners to support marketing and creative elements, including VaynerMedia for TV, social and digital promos; Motive for digital; OMD for paid media; Acceleration Community of Companies for PR; and the in-house PepsiCo Design Center for logo design.

The broadcast extends existing initiatives from both Global Citizen and Pepsi. For the past few weeks, Global Citizen has promoted social distancing and highlighted public health efforts with Together at Home-branded content on the organization’s website. The platform has sponsored livestreamed, at-home music performances on Instagram and curated blog posts about companies shifting their efforts to fight COVID-19. It’s also asking the public to take action by donating or tweeting out information about numerous fundraisers helping those impacted by COVID-19.

Global Citizen’s current efforts mirror its usual fundraising operations. Each year, the organization announces a specific set of goals that address social and environmental issues—and secure financial commitments from celebrities, corporations and philanthropists—for its annual Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park.

The music festival, which normally occurs in September, is free to people who take certain social media and online actions through the festival’s app and website. In recent years, artists including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Coldplay and Janet Jackson have headlined.

Last year, Global Citizen announced plans to expand the 2020 Global Citizen Festival into a 10-hour five-continent event, Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream, slated for Sept. 26. The organization hasn’t announced whether it plans to move forward with this year’s festival or postpone or cancel the event due to COVID-19.

Pepsi’s involvement with this month’s broadcast extends the PepsiCo Foundation’s $45 million global program to bring food to underserved communities during the crisis. So far, the initiative includes delivering 20 million meals to U.S. communities through the foundation’s Food for Good program, a partnership with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign that provides emergency grants to U.S. schools and community organizations and a partnership with the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty and USDA to reach rural U.S. students.

PepsiCo is also funding personal protective gear for healthcare workers in the U.S., Europe and China, and investing in financial support for restaurant workers.

One World: Together at Home won’t be the first musical event to address the pandemic. After SXSW was canceled, The Fader turned its annual Fader Fort into a digital music festival to raise money for music charities. iHeartRadio also aired its Living Room Concert for America on March 29 on Fox, which raised $10 million, according to organizers.


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ian.zelaya@adweek.com Ian Zelaya is an Adweek reporter covering how brands engage with consumers in the modern world, ranging from experiential marketing and social media to email marketing and customer experience.
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