In its largest, most ambitious online campaign to date, PepsiCo drew nearly 34 million entries for its recent Pepsi Creative Challenge in China, exceeding its goal by 4 million.
The promotion, implemented through a partnership with China Internet services giant Tencent, was the fourth iteration of the Challenge.
Last year, 28 million Chinese responded to a challenge to upload photos reflecting a "Go China" theme. This time, consumers were encouraged to celebrate China's 60th anniversary by expressing their aspirations for the country in the form of "China, I wish you..." which are lyrics from the "Almighty China" anthem.
Consumers could upload 60-character-long sentiments via their personal home pages on China's leading social network, an integration of three Tencent Web sites: Taotao, a micro-blogging site equivalent to Twitter; QQ, China's MSN, with a 78% market share; and QZone, the world's largest social networking site. Taotao generated more than 17 million of the entries, according to a PepsiCo spokesperson.
Consumers were able to vote on the entries via any of the three online channels. They could also access a "creativity map" to see the hottest words from different regions of the country and have their own entries instantly rated by a "creativity meter." Animated "speakers" representing various regions, scaled in size to indicate each region's level of participation and enthusiasm, were featured on the site.
The 10 most popular entries earned a chance to be included in a 2010 Pepsi TV commercial.
The promotion site drew 22 million unique visitors and 11.3 million votes.
The promotion theme was also carried over into Pepsi's latest television commercial for National Day. The spot featured thousands of youths using Pepsi cans as a microphone to amplify "Almighty China" into a national movement that expresses their wishes to China and their celebration of the country.
"Our purpose in holding this massive 'online ritual' of Creative Challenges every year is to position Pepsi as a brand that continually seeks innovative ways to engage Chinese youth's desire for creative expression," summed up Chris Tung, VP of Pepsi brand marketing for the Greater China region.