Full of Detroit Soul: Pepsi Celebrates Art & Community In New Campaign

(Full Of Detroit Soul by Artist Desiree Kelly)

Pepsi Corporation is bringing art to the D with the launch of their Full of Detroit Soul campaign. Pepsi partnered with three Detroit native artists to create murals that will be featured throughout the city, celebrating the creativity and individuality of the city.

Artists Ndubisi Okoye, Desiree Kelly, and Sydney James were hand-picked by the Pepsi Corporation to create murals that reflect their take on Detroit’s soul. The murals, which will be displayed on billboards and wallscapes across Detroit, feature iconic city staples, and reflect the vibrancy of Detroit’s diversity. Each of the artists was chosen for their role in the city’s arts and the positive light they shed on their hometown.

“Detroit is a city with an incredible breadth of artistry and talent. When imagining the Full of Detroit Soul initiative, we wanted to depict the heart and culture of the community by partnering with artists that are very active locally and who highlight the city’s positive attributes in their art,” Kathy Kennedy, senior director of marketing, North Division, PepsiCo Beverages North America says. “We looked for talent that was not only Detroit locals, but who use the city and community as a constant source of inspiration and who embrace and celebrate everything Detroit stands for.”

One of the artists featured, Ndubisi Okoye, grew up on the Northwest side of the city. Creating murals for companies such as Universal Music Group, General Motors, and Mercedes Benz, Okoye is now lending his artistic abilities to Pepsi.

Full Of Detroit Soul by Artist by Ndubisi Okoye

“Pepsi reached out a number of months ago trying to figure out how to highlight the city in an authentic way, showing the diverse creativity and diverse people and artwork that represent Detroit well,” Okoye explains. “I was excited to join the team to give my flavor of what Detroit looks like to me.”

Desiree Kelly, a Wayne State University graduate, chose to mix different artistic methods to showcase Detroit’s Soul version. Using her love of graphic design, Kelly’s mural includes a vibrant mix of color and imagery paired with the traditional red, white, and blue Pepsi color scheme.

“Painting has always been a part of my art. I’ve always been a portrait painter, and my whole idea as an artist is to not only paint portraits but to tell a narrative of stories,” Kelly says. “I like to dabble a lot in mixed media, not just stick to painting. So, I incorporate a lot of artifacts, spray paint, different textures, and collage in the background of my work just to give the viewer an experience of my work.”

Showcasing a more specific aspect of Detroit, Sydney James chose to produce a piece that focuses on something she knows first-hand. James’ mural offers a personal look into the city through the eyes of Black women.

“I focus on painting Black women; as loud, as large, as flamboyant, as brilliantly as I can wherever I can,” James says.

Full Of Detroit Soul by Artist Sydney James

Giving a voice to what she considers the backbone of the city, this artist’s interpretation of Detroit’s soul is rich with her love for the Black women in Detroit. Noting resilience and strength, James depicts the beauty of Black women through her mural.

“This is a city of Blackness, but what is Blackness,” James asks. “Blackness is brilliance. Blackness is chaos because it’s all colors mixed together, but it’s also order in the chaos. Blackness is beauty, its resilience. That’s what I like to show through all my work, but specifically with this piece as well.”

With three different views of the city, the artists produced work that allows viewers to have insight into what makes Detroit special. Wanting to produce work, the city could cherish, each artist hopes residents will embrace the murals while feeling a sense of hometown pride.

“I hope that it inspires people who view it and motivates people to keep at their daily grind, whatever that may be,” Okoye says. “I feel like that’s what art around the city has done for me.”

Through this initiative, the beverage company hopes to continue its long-standing relationship with Detroit and continue to be a beacon in the community while putting artistry and creativity on display.

“At Pepsi, we’re always looking for ways to authentically and impactfully connect with our partners, our customers, and our consumers at a local community level. Detroit has been integral to the Pepsi brand for more than 80 years, and for a good reason — the city has an unparalleled culture of innovation and creativity,” Kennedy says. “Full of Detroit Soul allows Pepsi to house all of our community efforts and shine a light on this wonderfully dynamic city by showcasing some of its star talent – artists and musicians, both established and emerging – and the creative energy intrinsic to the city, all while doing good for the community.”

In addition to the murals, Pepsi will also launch limited-edition Full of Detroit Soul packaging on several Pepsi products across the city in 2021. The initiative will also become a multi-year creative campaign giving other artists the ability to showcase their love for the city. For more information on the program or to locate the murals, visit fullofdetroitsoul.com.



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