2023 UEFA Champions League Pepsi | 6th Hashtag Sports Awards

2023 UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show by Pepsi®


The 6th Annual Awards

Nominee ✨
  • Best Use of Fan-Generated Content
  • Best Use of TikTok


In 2023, the UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show by Pepsi® emerged as a cutting-edge football x music entertainment spectacle, captivating fans worldwide.

The performance was a dynamic, high-energy spectacle, showcasing three distinct cultural icons including Brazilian pop sensation Anitta, Nigeria superstar Burna Boy and multi-platinum DJ and producer Alesso. The promotional campaign, initiated with the #PepsiKickOffShow TikTok program, transformed fan engagement into an interactive journey. Fans were invited by Burna Boy to showcase their talents for the chance to join the Istanbul show by dancing/football freestyling, demonstrated by Pepsi’s global football ambassadors Vini Jr. and Leah Williamson.

In summary, The UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show by Pepsi® transcended traditional event participation, offering fans an immersive experience in Istanbul. It not only redefined consumer engagement but also set a new standard for seamlessly integrating entertainment into the fabric of a globally celebrated sports event.


How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

There is arguably no deeper level of engagement than offering fans the chance to be a part of the UCL Final itself. The #PepsiKickOffShow TikTok campaign transformed traditional fan engagement into an interactive journey. The result, 7 lucky winners receiving the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform alongside global music artists in Istanbul.

We leveraged Burna Boy’s star power in the announcement phase, initiating a ’call out’ to fans to showcase their best dance moves like Vini Jr. or football freestyle skills like Leah Williamson. This presented fans with the chance to win the opportunity to join the cast in the show. This strategy drove synergies with the Pepsi UCL football campaign and made consumers an integral part of the show, forging a deeper connection and enthusiasm for the UCL Kick Off Show.

In Istanbul, content creator Ben Black provided an immersive journey into the winners’ experience, capturing moments from rehearsals to the electrifying atmosphere of the fan festival. As the winners settled into their premium seats at the final, Black conveyed the joy and elation radiating from the crowd. His coverage not only showcased the thrill of the event but also captured the essence of the winners’ once-in-a-lifetime experience in Istanbul.


In 2023, the UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show by Pepsi® set out to achieve dual objectives:

  1. To enhance the UCL Final’s entertainment value, expanding global reach and attracting new audiences through a unique set of music and football talent, offering access to their fans.
  2. To drive brand love through the unparalleled power of the brand to reach and engage fans on a deeper level, sparking cultural conversations in music and football communities.

In addition, Pepsi’s goal in 2023 was to transform the pre-show promotion from a tactical 3-week artist announcement + tune-in campaign, to a comprehensive three-month consumer engagement initiative, seamlessly blending football and music to create a ’fan first’ experience.

Through the promotional campaign, Pepsi’s ambition was to drive synergy with the brands wider UCL football campaign to ignite news about the Pepsi Kick Off Show and extend the engagement to make consumers an integral part of the experience, forging a deeper connection and enthusiasm for the brand through a dynamic fusion of football, music, and sustained interaction.

Strategy & Execution

With the modern sports fan in mind, we conducted analysis to maximise and amplify the football affiliation when selecting our artist line-up. The final lineup, featuring Brazilian pop sensation Anitta, Nigerian superstar Burna Boy, and renowned Swedish DJ Alesso, not only resonated with sports fans globally, but also were deeply engrained with football culture.

Notably, 23% of Anitta’s and 54% of Burna Boy’s audience showed a strong interest in football, over-indexing vs the general population’s 20%. Burna Boy’s popularity with football players and his football-themed tracks) solidifies his place within modern day sports culture, while Anitta’s friendships with footballers such as Vini. Jr and prior involvement in football activations enhanced her credibility.

The finale track, Alesso’s ‘Heroes’ (We Could Be)’, was selected for its ability to engage fans with a sing-along moment, symbolising the journey of both teams reaching the UCL Final—the most prestigious annual club sports competition in the world.

The #PepsiKickOffShow TikTok campaign featured Pepsi’s football ambassadors Vini. Jr and Leah Williamson and the fan challenge was designed around dance and football to seamlessly merge these worlds.


  • Pepsi
  • UEFA
  • FUSE
  • TEAM Marketing
  • Black Skull
  • Balich Wonder Studio
  • OPA90
  • OMD
  • Pangolin


  • Alesso
  • Anitta
  • Burna Boy


Luca Pogliaghi
Marketing Director, Global Sports Marketing

Ellen Healy
Sr. Marketing Director, Global Consumer Engagement (Music/Entertainment)

Dima Al Saidi
Global Brands Communication Senior Manager - Pepsi and Sports Partnerships

Adam Warner
Head of Global Sports & Partnerships

Gustavo Reyna
Senior Director, Global Marketing

Mira Grosch
Global Marketing Director, Pepsi

Menna Zaki
Senior Director, Global Brands Communication

Orlagh O’Reilly
Global Director of Design

Edu Soler
Global Sports & Partnerships Digital & Media & Gaming Manager

Celebrate in NYC

Join us for the 6th Annual Hashtag Sports Awards™ on the evening of June 6, 2024 as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.