Friday, May 2, 2008

Pepsi & MyClick: Creative Mobile Challenge

With the Olympics coming soon, marketers become busy. Pepsi-Cola, once again, is using the most innovative technologies. In team with Chinese company MyClick, Pepsi launches the Creative Challenge. It encourages consumers to upload their photos with their basic personal data on any of the six major portals used in China - 163.com, xiaonei.com, taobao.com and 51.com, Poco.cn and iPartment. The target group is the so-called ‘Generation Wow’ – young people aged 12-24. Winners will become Pepsi Creative Challenge Stars and will appear on all Pepsi cans during the Olympics. Personally, I wouldn’t be very happy with my face appearing on a can, or say a cheeseburger wrap, but for many people, I guess, it’s a very exciting experience.

The campaign is supported by the various ways of advertising – TV, printed media, WAP, MMS. But the technological highlight is the use of MyClick technology based on image recognition, which allows to convert camera phones into opt-in mobile marketing devices. That’s how it works: users download the MyClick application to their phones via the MyClick website. When they see a MyClick enabled image, they activate their MyClick application and photograph the MyClick frame (Pepsi's frame is shown in the picture above). If the software detects that the phone is not equipped with a camera, it prompts the user for an alpha-numeric code instead.

This gives consumers one-click access to all of the Pepsi Creative Challenge contest details, and the ability to cast vote and check on their current blogs. Customers clicking on MyClick Hyperlink Frames are directed to the campaign site where they can interact with the brand. As MyClick site states, important consumer information may also be captured such as mobile phone numbers and email addresses.

On a more complex level of explanation, this technology works much like mobile barcodes, but instead of consumers snapping a picture of a 2D barcode, or QR code, they take a picture of any image bordered by a MyClick frame. MyClick's frame acts much as a 2D barcode, sending users to a specially created mobile web site for more information, or downloads. By the way, MyClick enabled image is printed on 2 billion Pepsi bottles.

To my mind, this campaign is likely to be quite successful in China, world's largest mobile market, with 500 million mobile phones in use. Youth will definitely be delighted by the campaign, as millions of people dream to become ‘stars’. The difficulty is that most of the time, users have to download a program to their phone to be able to facilitate the image recognition process, which makes it more complicated and takes more effort from consumers. On the whole, I think that this is a good addition to the traditional ways of promotion, and it will further evolve in the future.

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