After years of sponsoring and promoting pop culture events, this spring Pepsi will finally be opening a venue of its own in New York City’s Meatpacking district. It’s called Kola House, and it’s a restaurant, bar, lounge and event space that will serve up refreshments and social experiences, with the hopes of creating some memories for to-go.
Central to the theme of the Kola House will be the kola nut, the fruit that once gave cola its caffeinated boost. The nut will now inspire experimental drinks and plate pairings at the venue. Top-notch and chefs will create the dishes, and so far mixologist Alex Ott is on board as Kola House’s resident cocktail curator.
At the flagship space at 408 W. 15th St., Live Nation will partner with Pepsi to produce the music series Live at the Kola House with known artists, and other arts, style, film and sports events will call the house home.
But there is also a modular element that will make its way around the country to host localized events. According to the stndrd, this past weekend the Kola House made its way to San Francisco for Superbowl 50 pre-party that included performances by Pharrell and Swizz Beatz, interactive art installations, and specialty drinks for the VIP guests.
Almost two decades ago, a HBR article introduced the idea of a growing “experience economy,” where businesses are in the art of designing and marketing engaging and interactive events, particularly centered around a core theme. The Hard Rock Cafe and The House of Blues are examples, whereby they use food as props to facilitate entertainment.
Today’s consumer cares less about small cost differentials as a focus as quality takes precedence, and Pepsi’s Kola House delivers ‘quality’ through experiences that will last longer than a bottle of soda.
A modern extension of the Pepsi Brand, the Kola House is also a platform for communicating the value of its products. So when it opens in a few months, we’ll see how Kola House is positioned in this experience business, and how it will essentially act as a marketing tool for Pepsi’s core business—that is, the “diminishing world of goods and services.”