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RISE UP FROM FRIENDZONE: PEPSI® AND ZAKIR ADD AN IRREVERENT TWIST TO FRIENDSHIP DAY

New Delhi, Aug 2, 2023: Ahead of Friendship Day, culture curator brand, PEPSI® is all set to celebrate the week of friendship in an irreverent manner. True to its spirit of being the voice of the generation, Pepsi® has announced an exciting collaboration with stand-up icon and renowned comedian, Zakir Khan. Pepsi®’s witty collaboration with Zakir is aimed at inspiring friends to stand by their buddies and encourage them to “Rise up” from their friendzone situation.
In this one-of-a-kind campaign, Zakir Khan encourages the youth to be true friends to each other, inspire friends to move on and steer friends away from the dreaded ‘friendzone’ – a zone that the young generation is perpetually escaping. By leveraging the power of technology, friends commenting on Zakir’s post as a cry for help for their friends in ‘friendzone’ will get a personalized message directly in their inbox that can be shared amongst friends as a pro-tip to swear by.
In the video, Zakir Khan is seen bringing his signature comedic flair to empower this young generation with an impactful narration that says, “Yeh jo friendzone hai na, yeh danger zone hai. Isse nikalo, bhaago, aur koi dost fassa hai toh use bachchao. Kyuki doston ki bhi zimmedari hoti hai. Friendzone ke chakkar se you’ve got to Rise Up Baby!”
Shailja Joshi, Category Lead, Pepsi Cola, PepsiCo India said, “Pepsi has captivated the youth of India for decades with its irreverence and is known to rewrite the way people see popular occasions each year. Giving Friendship Day a unique twist and inspire the young generation to rise above friendzone with their friends, we could not have asked for a better fit to this campaign than Zakir, the buddy, the OG Sakht Launda. We are confident that Zakir’s comedic prowess and popularity will speak to the youth directly and encourage them to be there for their friends as they break free from friendzone along with a chilled bottle of Pepsi.”
Zakir Khan commented on his excitement to join Pepsi®, “I am elated to be a part of the iconic Pepsi universe – a brand that has been my friend over the years. This campaign is all about breaking free from the friendzone and owning who you are, and I am thrilled to be the voice of this message. With humor as the driving force, we will celebrate friendship, self-expression, and the beauty of being true to oneself. I hope the audience enjoys the video and is inspired to ‘Rise Up, Baby!”
Vikram Pandey, National Creative Director (Spiky), Leo Burnett India said, “Often when you are being friend zoned, it’s your friends who can notice it first. This insight seemed really fresh to tap into this Friendship Day for Pepsi. And who better than ‘Sakht Launda’ Zakir Khan to bring this alive. An appeal to all friends, to save their friends from being friend zoned!”
The new campaign will be amplified with a robust marketing plan including digital, social media and influencers. Pepsi® is available in single/multi-serve packs across modern and traditional retail outlets as well as on leading e-commerce platforms.

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