Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pepsi's Social Media Marketing: Wanna Play?

Some of you have probably already heard that PepsiCo International, a company with revenues more than $39 billion, is going to launch a social networking site focused on football later in April starting from Europe. The Beta-version of Pepsi Youniverse is already available for football fans, allowing to create your Visual DNA and compare it to those of big football stars like Lampard, Henry, Messi, Ronaldinho, and, of course, Beckham. The Visual DNA is an Imagini Holdings Ltd invention – it is a personality test, you have to answer the questions by choosing the appropriate images to get your psychographic description. Pepsi Youniverse’ Visual DNA describes what type of a football fan you are, using questions like ‘The best thing about being a footballer is…’. My closest match, according to this test, is Lampard, and football is definitely a huge part of my life (they don’t ask you whether you’re interested in it or not, it is assumed that you are). After launching this site Pepsi plans to create even more networks, focused on music and ‘hopes and dreams’.

There already exists another Beta-version (I am surprised how it’s got through the alpha test, though) which I personally find more interesting, but of which almost no one heard about (at least Google search makes me think so). It is another Pepsi social network targeting specifically the Pepsi Max drinkers. I liked it a lot not only because I had to choose what type of man I am (Visual DNA again), select the contents of my car and then select my gender (female, what a surprise), but because it lets you merge your email (whether you use Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail), other networks (Facebook, Flickr), RSS subscriptions, and that’s not the whole list. It also includes space for blogging, digital storage, videos, and standard social networking site options. And as we are using more and more different sites, with even more appearing almost every day, merging it not a bad idea at all.

But let’s get back to Pepsi: all these networks could definitely become very powerful research and marketing tools. If people do really need them. How many teenage football fans and for how long would be amused by comparing their personal profiles to Ronaldinho’s? Are these investments going to pay off?

13 comments:

Madalina said...

yes, I do think they will pay off in the long run, because they are creating a certain image people can be influenced by.

Great post by the way...I'm looking the tests up right now!

Denis said...

My guess would be that this way the company can collect data about its consumers e.g. who are they, how old are they, where do they come from, what do they like/dislike etc. How? Well, we all have at least one social network account where we provide OURSELVES information such companies struggle to get. Moreover its quality is definitely better then they can get through annoying surveys whatsoever and its always up-to-date. So once Pepsi`s social network is good enough to attract considerable amount of users it will enable Pepsi to make neat and targeted adjustments to its overall image or certain product positioning/advertising/distribution.

Know what? I don`t want to be part of that. Still given described functionality (rather advanced i have to admit)of the second network and Pepsi`s deep pocket they could probably compete with well-known social players.

PS Ирк, мне очень понра стиль языка поста: ты сильно прибавила за короткий срок, молодец! Дениска)

Kunnal said...

Interesting post..I think the web is getting quite saturated already with social networks. I know its (probably) the next big thing since the Internet itself, but with new social networks coming up ever so often, do we really want MNC's like Pepsi Co. starting one as well? What happens if all the other MNC's follow in Pepsi's lead? This isnt about Pepsi wanting us to stay in touch with our friends and family, its quite simply a market survey for them - the more information about us they have, the more money they make off of us.

Irina said...

To all of you: thank you very much for your comments! They are very valuable for me!

Madalina, all the marketing efforts of each and every company are aimed to create image and reinforce the brand. The thing is, how to do it most efficiently. Pepsi's trying to create a few new neworks - understandably, for different market segments. But it seems like people are not very enthusiastic about joining brand networks as they regard them as pure advertising. Except for real Pepsi fans, may be, they'll strengthen their loyalty.

Denis, yes, that's what one of the social media marketing's biggest advantages is - an opportunity to gather a lot of information about consumers. If you don't want to be a part of that you'd better stop using all the other netwotking sites and Internet on the whole:) We don't have much choice, you're stuck with us marketers. Watching you all the time, eve if you don't notice it sometimes.

Kunnal, exactly, there are too many already. They will succeed only if they do something way much better than what already exists. Visual DNA is something that can create excitement, but why not make the soccer thing a part of the Imagini network. I think, their segmentation is not consistent with the social media concept.

denis said...

Going offline? No way, i can`t even imagine it.:)As far as know social networks and all the companies which collect personal information are subject to privacy regulations and not allowed to disclose personal information to 3rd parties with some exceptions like legal inquiry. Besides they typically limit search engine indexing of their network. Here`s an example http://www.facebook.com/policy.php. Thus being a part of pure social network meaning an independent company on its own (not a part of Pepsi or smth) seems to be safe in terms of privacy. Actually privacy is a very big concern nowadays especially because of today`s speed of collecting, analyzing and distribution of data.

The Pepsi`s example shows me unfortunate tendency that huge effort goes to making software aiming to produce money, not to bring benefit to ppl. But as always there is no evil without good - many technology advances comes along.

Denis said...

Irina, how about referring to such brand networks as untisocial networks? I`ve just coined the term but feel free to use it. :)))

denis said...

oops, i mean antisocial

Irina said...

Antisocial is probably too strong:)

You're right, the privacy conserns are still there.
Still, you can do a lot in research: http://saunderslog.com/2007/11/25/facebook-market-research-secrets/ and, of course, advertising: http://social-media-optimization.com/2007/10/a-successful-facebook-marketing-campaign/...

Tessa said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Ruth

http://besttoddler.com

Tessa said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Ruth

http://besttoddler.com

Anonymous said...

Yes we think it's important data out there for companies. Like Denis says we actually run a company on thos lines - drizzlin (www.drizzlin.com)... but companies should start talking to people and yeah there is only so much that Pepsi can talk about the product...I guess here's when we need to talk things that are important to my customers - connecting with each other in this case. But I believe there can be more effective things to do rather than recreating a facebook.

Deepak said...

Yes we think it's important data out there for companies. Like Denis says we actually run a company on thos lines - drizzlin (www.drizzlin.com)... but companies should start talking to people and yeah there is only so much that Pepsi can talk about the product...I guess here's when we need to talk things that are important to my customers - connecting with each other in this case. But I believe there can be more effective things to do rather than recreating a facebook.

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