SBJ/November 26-December 2, 2012/In Depth

Case Study: PepsiCo Anthems

Forget generation next. When it comes to digital and social marketing, PepsiCo wants to represent generation now.

The snack and beverage maker relies on the viral nature of online campaigns to enhance and supplement traditional promotions and advertising. Executives note that one of the keys to success is the realization that one size doesn’t fit all. Disparate approaches can be seen with sports-themed social media campaigns for flagship brand Pepsi and sports beverage Gatorade.

At the start of the current football season, Pepsi launched its “Anthems” campaign, a national/regional push featuring pop, rock and rap acts recording custom songs tied to various NFL teams. Pepsi is the league’s official soft drink.

Participants include Lenny Kravitz (New York Jets), Kelly Clarkson (Dallas Cowboys), Aerosmith (New England Patriots), Ice Cube (Oakland Raiders) and Kid Rock (Detroit Lions). Free downloads of the songs are available at pepsianthems.com. The site, supported by Twitter and Facebook feeds, encourages repeat digital traffic by offering behind-the-scenes video clips and interviews of recording sessions and meetings between the musicians and players from the teams. To increase the audience size, the teams, players and musicians also link to the content through their own tweets and Facebook pages.

Gatorade uses celebrity in a different way, emphasizing in Twitter messages and on its site the advantages of energy and hydration as part of competition. Robert Griffin III, Ryan Lochte, Serena Williams, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant, among many others, offer bite-sized observations or are featured in messages bearing hash tags #WinFromWithin and #Everything@Prove.

Since the launch of #WinFromWithin in January, 90 percent of the social media conversation ties into that theme, said Jennifer Storms, PepsiCo senior vice president of global sports marketing. The time consumers spent online on the Gatorade site increased by 30 percent during the same span, according to company research.

“When we put out content and it’s sports-related and has this great tie with music [on Pepsi Anthems], it’s getting consumed,” Storms said. “With Gatorade, it’s incredibly personal. They want to know how to get that edge. We’re not going to take a blanket approach across our brands.”

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