Staff Reporters
Jun 17, 2021

Asia-Pacific Power List 2021: Lilly Yip, PepsiCo

Always keeping up with China’s cool kids, Yip is careful to also respect its mainstream customers while also paying increased attention to a new sustainability agenda.

Asia-Pacific Power List 2021: Lilly Yip, PepsiCo
Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers

Lilly Yip

APAC CMO and chief sustainability officer
Member since 2020

Long ago in the 1980s, Pepsi’s slogan was ‘The Choice of a New Generation’. Fast-forward nearly 40 years and PepsiCo has found a new generation of consumers in China for its drinks (including Pepsi, Mirinda, Gatorade and others). From Shanghai, PepsiCo’s APAC CMO Lilly Yip likes to keep a close eye on the preferences of younger Chinese trend-setters. Returning to our list this year, Yip continues to inject youth and vitality to the brand through technology or partnerships with music, design and fashion creators as Pepsi did in making K-pop supergroup Blackpink its APAC brand ambassadors this past January. 

Social-media strategies have been key, exemplified by Yip’s work with VMLY&R this past summer. Pepsico Shanghai built WeChat and Douyin (TikTok) mini-apps that let users in China treat any blue surface, such as a Pepsi can, as an augmented-reality screen for creative purposes. The campaign inspired hundreds of thousands of videos and posters, billions of views and tens of millions of renminbi in earned media. 

Innovation and experimentation is another mainstay, as Yip’s teams continue to market new drink flavours in new ways.  Pepsi’s recent campaign for its Peach Oolong flavoured cola received industry plaudits for its carefully curated use of Chinese social media, particularly its use of search and reviews on Weibo and links to sales platforms, also via WeChat. 

Working for a century-old brand, Yip knows the benefits of building appeal beyond just the young and tech savvy, but across all generations of Chinese. She spearheads Pepsi’s annual ‘Bring Happiness Home’ event, reinforcing the importance of tradition and family bonds during the spring festival, culminating in one of the most-watched branded videos, with 600 million to 1 billion views each year. In the same vein, Yip and her teams celebrated the country’s unsung heroes during the pandemic last year on Pepsi cans in partnership with top news platform, People’s Daily. 

Beyond straight marketing, Yip’s team has delivered many award-winning programs including the Pepsi Campus Music Program, organized in more than a thousand universities, giving millions of talented youngsters a shot at pursuing their music dreams. 

A key priority now and in future involves stepping up to support the Pepsi’s sustainability agenda. This past year, Yip’s team leveraged partnerships with Shanghai Disney Resort, Shanghai Fashion Week and key customers like Subway to promote consumer education via recycling machines and “zero waste” messages. Extending sustainability to culture and values, Yip and her teams have partnered with the China Women Development Foundation to protect cultural heritage, as they have traditional handicrafts by village mothers such as embroidery, paper cutting and tie dye. 

While much work has focused on China where Yip is based, she leads PepsiCo’s marketing teams across APAC, helping them to accelerate digital transformation, combining data and tech with local insights. The team continues to build its customer base for a wide portfolio of brands, such as Pepsi, Lay's, Cheetos, Mirinda, Gatorade, and Mountain Dew. 

An MBA graduate from the University of California Berkeley, Yip spent time with McKinsey, Nestle and FutureBrand before joining Pepsico in New York in 2004 to work on global corporate strategy. After being transferred to Pepsi Greater China, Yip worked her way up from a business development role in Hong Kong to head up insights and marketing for Greater China before taking on her current role.

Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers


Campaign Asia

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