Pepsi Will Drop Its Label if Argentina Wins World Cup

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If Argentina wins the World Cup, Pepsi Cola plans to follow the example of Argentina’s coach Diego Maradona, who says he’ll celebrate by running around naked in Buenos Aires.

Not to be outdone, Pepsi announced that the company’s soft drink bottles will be sold for a week in Argentina with no label if that country wins the soccer tournament. To illustrate what that would look like, Pepsi is running print ads this week from BBDO Argentina showing a Pepsi-shaped plastic bottle of dark liquid dressed in nothing but a blue label fastened to the neck of the bottle reading, “If the coach goes naked, we will, too. Pepsi promises.”

Mr. Maradona, a frequently controversial former soccer star who is coaching his first World Cup team, apparently responded to a radio interviewer who asked how he would celebrate an Argentine victory by saying that he would strip and run naked around the Obelisk, a famous Buenos Aires landmark.

That was enough to prompt BBDO Argentina to make a cheeky bid to grab attention for Pepsi during the World Cup. In the agency’s last campaign, Pepsi changed its name to Pecsi to reflect the way the brand’s name sounds when pronounced in Argentine-accented Spanish.

Argentina isn’t tipped to win the World Cup, but the country isn’t a long shot, either. Brazil and Spain are considered the tournament’s favorites, but Argentina boasts star player Lionel Messi and the odds on Argentina emerging next month as the champion are about 6-1. Argentina has played only one game so far, an easy victory over Nigeria, and on Thursday morning faces a mediocre South Korean team, whose only standout player is Park Ji-Sung. (Mr. Park plays during the regular season for Manchester United, whose fans like to greet the South Korean player with the chant “He shoots, he scores, he eats Labradors.”)

How Nike and Pepsi Again Hijack the World Cup


The world’s greatest sporting spectacle, the World Cup, began this weekend. Do you know who the “official” sponsors are?

You might think from the prevalence of its “Write the Future” campaign on the web and in pop culture, that Nike is an official World Cup sponsor. It’s not. Nor is Pepsi, whose “Oh Africa” has been racking up millions of views on the web since May. Rather, the official sponsors are Adidas and Coke — and both have also produced compelling online videos in association with their campaigns.

As we all know, brands often pay significant sums of money to be the exclusive sponsor for high-profile sporting events including the World Cup, Olympics and Super Bowl. These sponsorships typically include a number of elements and are supported by TV, on premise and promotional support. To their credit, the event organizers themselves go to great lengths in order to protect the value of the sponsors, and the relationship they have with the event.

I remember that before the Beijing Olympics, the government assumed control of the outdoor ad space so that the sponsors would be given access to it. I thought it was a great idea.

For as long as brands have sponsored these events, other brands have tried to ride along on the brand equity of the events as well. This concept, known as “ambush marketing,” involves running similarly themed campaigns around the time of the event without actually mentioning the event itself. A famous example of this was American Express’ campaign around the Barcelona Olympics, “You don’t need a visa to go to Barcelona” (Visa was the Olympic sponsor). Aware of this practice, sponsoring brands usually think ahead of how to counteract them on site or on TV.
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Enter the web…

As Nike and Pepsi have recently demonstrated, the open distribution and viral nature of the web create a whole new path for ambush marketing. In the “Write the Future” campaign, Nike produced a video starring their top-tier talent.

They then used the web as an initial distribution ground. Two weeks and 15 million-plus views later, Nike has created a brand association with soccer, and likely the World Cup itself. Adidas also produced a very compelling video using talent as well — only it debuted a bit later and was far less seen or distributed. While Adidas may have a significant TV or local presence planned over the next two weeks, it got hijacked online.

So what can a brand do to protect itself, or alternately, what can you do to best position yourself to steal someone else’s thunder?

Start early!!!!

While you might not be able to own the conversation, you can at least start it. Plan far in advance — it is better to be a bit early to the party than to miss it completely. Starting the conversation immediately allows you to insert yourself into it.

Spend early!!!!

Don’t just plan your viral campaign to start early — adjust some of the spending cycle as well. Social media, rapid news cycles and thousands of bloggers are all affecting marketing plans in ways no one would have predicted 10 years ago.

With these new tools, people have more outlets to talk about big events way in advance and websites actually have incentives to do so to increase search and other referral traffic. As a result, there is no shortage of relevant content to associate with from a very early stage, and users are in the right mindset well in advance of where they were years ago.

As a frame of reference, type World Cup 2010 into Google — you get 196,000,000 results. Think about that –- there are close to 200,000,000 million pages that have already been indexed about the topic and the event hasn’t even started yet.

Be Clear as well. While I assume that event sponsors have many restrictions on how they can market their association, it is increasingly clear that subtlety does not work online. As creative as the Adidas video is, it does not directly refer to their sponsorship.

Wow factor

It seems that the High Jackers always have more bling than the High Jackee. The videos produced by Nike and Pepsi both have what I call “the wow factor.” You watch the video and want to share it as a result of the story and creativity. Adidas and Coke also produced high quality content that was interesting and compelling –- but needed more “wow” to succeed online.
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Target an audience

Targeting a specific audience may seem like impractical advice when talking about events like the Super Bowl or Olympics, which are inherently broad and have mass appeal. In reality though, you need a core group of evangelists to help spread the word for you, or you will never reach the broad audiences. Reach out to these evangelists early, let them know what is coming and get them excited.

In today’s world, the web and social media are rewriting the rules of marketing. This presents both new opportunities and challenges for brands, but in any event, it is a factor that must be considered when hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsorships are on the line.

PepsiCo taps mobile for loyalty program to reward beverage consumption

PepsiCo Foodservice has launched a mobile loyalty program in the form of an iPhone application that rewards consumers for visiting restaurants that serve Pepsi beverages.
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The Pepsi Loot iPhone application rewards consumers with Loot – free songs, including tracks provided exclusively for Pepsi Loot users from artists such as the Neon Trees, Tamar Kaprelian and Semi Precious Weapons.

“The strategic reason is we are always looking to connect with consumers and customers in ways that allow us to create better engaging experiences,” said Margery Schelling, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Foodservice, Purchase, NY.

“Providing an engaging experience for consumers is our strategy for everything we do,” she said. “If you look at how consumers live today, no one is without a mobile device.”

That was precisely why Pepsi chose to use mobile in this particular initiative.

Using location-based technology, Pepsi Loot features a map of nearby restaurants that serve Pepsi beverages, called Pop Spots, along with information such as address, cuisine type and introductions to the restaurant’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

In addition, restaurants can deliver a value offer directly through Pepsi Loot, such as a free Pepsi with purchase of an entrée.

“Pepsi Loot is a platform for Pepsi to provide added value for all of its restaurant customers,” Ms. Schelling said. “The app creates awareness and drives traffic to restaurants that serve Pepsi and serves as a vehicle to deliver customized offers.”

Once the consumer has arrived at a Pop Spot, the geolocation technology of the iPhone enables the consumer to “check in” to earn Loot.

After the first check-in the consumer earns a free digital song download at the Pepsi Loot Store, http://www.PepsiLootStore.com.

The Pepsi Loot Store includes more than 250,000 songs from a catalog of chart-topping artists.

In addition to providing free exclusive tracks, Pepsi Loot artists contributed behind-the-scenes personal videos, available at the Pepsi Loot YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/pepsiloot.

“Mobile is very important to Pepsi’s overall marketing strategy and it is becoming increasingly important for Pepsi Food Service,” Ms. Schelling said. “Mobile is the way that consumers are living their lives.”

Coke Is the Official Sponsor, but Pepsi Scores First on Web

Coke may be the official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, but Pepsi’s 2.5-minute “Oh Africa” is the first World Cup ad to make the viral chart, and portends well for Pepsi’s revamped social-media strategy.

Pepsi took a pass on the Super Bowl for the first time in 23 years in 2010, and CEO Indra Nooyi has said the company is shifting as much as a third of its marketing budget to social media. But “social” doesn’t necessarily mean “cheap.” Pepsi’s video effort is big-budget with visual effects and stars the biggest names in the game, including Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.

Will online video help Pepsi find a way to own the World Cup without actually being in the World Cup?

Pepsi Rekindles Cola War in Russia

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With attention focused on President Barack Obama’s visit to Russia this week, PepsiCo made some news of its own in Moscow. Chairman-CEO Indra Nooyi announced a $1 billion investment in the country, making it the latest beverage battleground. PepsiCo, in partnership with the Pepsi Bottling Group, plans to expand its presence in the country over the next three years through a variety of manufacturing and distribution investments.
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Just this week a new bottling plant was opened outside of Moscow in Domodedovo. That plant is expected to eventually be Pepsi’s largest globally. A new snack-manufacturing plant is also slated to open later this year in Azov.

Already, Pepsi has invested more than $3 billion in Russia. Last year Pepsi spent about $2 billion to acquire the country’s largest juice company.

“Russia is a very attractive growth market,” said Eric Foss, chairman-CEO of Pepsi Bottling Group. “The investments we’re making in our Russia business are creating new jobs, providing us with the flexibility to produce a wider range of beverage offerings for consumers and enabling us to better serve our valued retail partners.”

Ms. Nooyi is in Russia attending a business summit called by Mr. Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Her trip also coincides with the 50th anniversary of Pepsi’s introduction in the country. In 1959, former PepsiCo CEO Donald Kendall introduced the soft drink to Nikita Khrushchev at the American National Exhibition in Moscow.
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In the early 1970s, Mr. Kendall brokered a deal with the Soviet government, giving Pepsi the distinction being the first Western consumer product to be made and sold in the Soviet Union.

Social-media tools are fostering customer service.

More Twitter uses are outlined here as well but I am still wondering how the investors are ever going to get back their money though. There seems to be no business model for this great service.

For direct sales Dell says it has sold more than $2 million worth of PCs through its @DellOutlet account (over 710,000 followers) on Twitter since 2007.

For up-to-the-minute service details Twitter can function like a real-time search for airlines and others. For example, JetBlue (@jetBlue; over 730,000 followers) assiduously answers traveler queries about flight times, delays and weather updates. “It’s like an early-warning system,” says spokesman Morgan Johnston.

Twitter can deliver customer feedback that leads to enhanced services. Starbucks is using a blend of social media via Twitter (@Starbucks; over 230,000 followers), Facebook (3.2 million fans) and its own social-networking site (MyStarbucksIdea.com) for product ideas and feedback. Splash sticks, the company’s new plastic plugs for sip holes, were created in part through feedback.
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Through social-media forums on Facebook and Yahoo, PepsiCo asked customers to visit its DEWmocracy website and vote on one of three choices for a new Mountain Dew flavor. More than 350,000 voted last year.
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Online communities to exchange comments. Facebook and MySpace, through their respective services, offer massive bulletin boards for consumers to weigh in on major brands.

Dunkin’ Donuts actively manages a fan page on Facebook with more than 825,000 fans. It used the page extensively to complement advertising and e-mail to inform customers on a new line of healthy foods and an iced coffee day event in April.

Harley-Davidson’s corporate profiles on MySpace (36,000 friends) and Facebook (175,000 fans) let it solicit comments from fiercely loyal customers. Harley also uses Twitter (@harleydavidson; 4,000 followers) and produces videos of its motorcycles on YouTube.