In what appears to be a first, Pepsi is employing a Foursquare badge on a global basis as a key component of its "Summer Time is Pepsi Time" campaign.
The Foursquare element kicked in over the July 4 weekend, when the campaign's second TV spot, "Uncle Teddy," was launched. That ad, which takes a direct jab at Coke by overtly hijacking the polar bear theme that Coke has used to drive its winter sales, was previewed first on Pepsi's Facebook and YouTube pages starting on the morning of July 3. Then, that evening, it was broadcast for the first time on "America's Got Talent."
Near its end, the spot includes a screen message encouraging viewers to follow Pepsi on Foursquare to "unlock summer fun." Foursquare messaging by a major CPG brand on national television is also a first, PepsiCo Beverages' head of digital Shiv Singh tells Marketing Daily.
Pepsi has designated locations around the world, including beaches, parks, ballparks, concert venues and pools. Fans who check in from any three of them earn badges, which qualify them for being entered in sweepstakes for prizes.
The campaign's first ad, which debuted on June 27 and shows Santa and his elves enjoying a tropical resort (where Santa insists on having Pepsi instead of Coke), will rotate with the "Uncle Teddy" spot throughout the summer. The Santa ad now also includes the Foursquare promotional messaging.
Getting people to check in from the outdoor locations they are enjoying during summer strengthens the connection between their real-world experiences and the Pepsi brand, thereby strengthening Pepsi's "ownership" of "Summer Time is Pepsi Time," notes Singh. Being able to show off the Foursquare-earned Pepsi badge on personal Facebook and Twitter accounts is actually more motivating to users than the chances for winning prizes, he adds. "We call it 'badge equity,'" he says.
The Foursquare participation is being driven by aggressive use of Twitter, Singh reports. Pepsi has made "small, strategic" buys, including a message over the July 4th weekend about its Foursquare badge that was delivered to Twitter followers of the extremely popular #Happy4thofJuly.
(Breakingcopy.com noted that Pepsi's buys of competitive keywords result in interesting scenarios, such as a YouTube search for "Coca-Cola" generating a sponsored link to the Pepsi polar bear spot. And that for a time, Coca-Cola was retaliating: Users of summertimeispepsi.com, which is currently disabled, were being redirected to coca-cola.com.)
Also over the holiday weekend, Pepsi bought ad takeovers on Yahoo, AOL and other dominant Web properties. The ads took users to the "Uncle Teddy" video, which in turn directs them to the Foursquare link.
Another digital tie-in: The campaign's in-store promotional materials include a QR code that when scanned enables the user to connect to the campaign commercials or other campaign content.
Among the results thus far: Pepsi has been the #1 trending Brand on Foursquare since July 3, and there were 1.2 million views of the "Uncle Teddy" video within the first 36 hours (up to 1.56 million as of yesterday).