It is the age old question in the game of cola and not doubt, one that we have all heard or been asked. Although the answer may lie in something as simple as our subconscious childhood memories, or just plain personal taste, the battle for cola supremacy carries on.
In this fight, marketing and adverting creatives have constantly pushed for innovative strategies in which to simultaneously convert rival skeptics and retain their loyalist consumer base.
Similarly, as energy drinks and low-calorie alternatives have gained popularity in recent years, these two corporate heavy hitters have felt increased pressure to step up their game as well. A few years back Coca-Cola introduced Coke Zero and shortly thereafter, Pepsi came out with Pepsi Max, a low-calorie, sugar-free alternative to Diet Pepsi.
With the slogan of “take things to the Max”, Pepsi Max aimed to market an actively engaged demographic with web based tools, rather than using traditional approaches. Since their TV ads had been a bust in the past and fizzed from public memory after airing, PepsiCo needed a new approach. This was going to be their one opportunity to create the buzz needed around their “forward-thinking” brand and wow new audiences.
Using their “forward thinking” caps, PepsiCo partnered with Microsoft© Advertising to launch a strategic online campaign in three non U.S. markets: United Kingdom, Norway and Australia called the Pepsi Max’s Club. Taking the ambitious approach of targeting men between the ages of 18-25, the campaign took on a feel of exclusivity, as many elite, posh clubs do. Built and hosted by Microsoft © technology, the micro-site “club” tailored to the interest’s of this younger demographic.
The Pepsi Max’s Club included humor, games, content sharing, social networking and most importantly, beautiful women. What more could a guy ask for when trolling the Internet?
Besides an ice cold [insert refreshing beverage of choice here] in hand and maybe a game in the background, I don’t know many other men that would argue for much more.
Also, lets be honest here, folks. Sex appeal sells and the fact that the site was fronted by the stunning Australian pin-up, Holly Valance, does not hurt the cause either.
Also, it comes to no surprise that PepsiCo choose Norway as one of its three launching test sites. Norwegians are amongst the top Internet users in general, in the world, and have clearly found their niche in social media through the extensive use of Facebook, Twitter and Nettby, in particular.
According to the Norwegian Research Agency, TNS Gallup, more than 50% of the Norwegian population is using Facebook on a weekly basis and among those, user skews more heavily male than female. In leveraging this knowledge, the Pepsi Max’s Club was created, along with several coinciding Facebook pages (PepsiMax and MaxYourMusic)that have provided Norwegians the digital space to build and share the Pepsi brand organically.
In the 9 months the micro-site was in commission, much success was made in way brand impact.
But don’t take my word for it. Let’s evaluate the numbers, shall we?
- 2.8 million unique users generating 4 million visits to the site.
- 73 percent of respondents were male and 68 percent were younger than 29
- 18.5 percent of users came back to the site.
- Users engaged with the content for an average of 17.9 minutes, generating over 799,000 hours of active engagement with the brand.
- More than 24,000 pieces of content were shared around the web.
- Media placement on Xbox LIVE smashed all previous click-through records at 34 percent.
- The campaign has been so successful that Pepsi had their PR agency create a video of Abbey Clancy in a real-world Max Club. This video has since received over 110,000 views.
In the end, the race continues for Cola dominance; however PepsiCo’s biggest online campaign was executed with precision and creativity. Not only did the Pepsi brand resonate with target audiences, they were actively engaged and entertained with the content throughout the marketing process—the result: a win, win scenario for both consumer and marketer.
“The Pepsi Max Club reached the right audience at the right time with the right content” – Claudia Lagunas, Director of Digital and New Media, PepsiCo International.