First-ever Internet taste test

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Pepsi features video skits of its Facebook fans tasting its new cola beverage
Pepsi features video skits of its Facebook fans tasting its new cola beverage

The Offer: Dreamt up by comedy collective Funny or Die and digital agency The Barbarian Group, the “Pepsi NEXT Internet Taste Test” is part of a Facebook-based “Drink It To Believe It” initiative to promote the brand's new low sugar soft drink. Fans who download an app, can enter for the chance to have Funny or Die comedians create improv video impressions of them taking their first sip of Pepsi NEXT. The video skits, designed to go viral, are peppered with personal details from fans' profiles, including photos and recent “likes.”

The Data: The Pepsi NEXT Facebook page, which became active in conjunction with the actual product launch, had already amassed nearly 67,000 “likes” and an active fan base by the middle of April.

The Channel: Pepsi NEXT debuted in stores nationwide at the end of March followed by free in-market samplings for consumers. Though primarily based on Facebook, the campaign also included a TV spot featuring parents who are so wowed by the new drink that they don't notice their infant son can play electric guitar.

The Creative: The first video in the taste-test series featured a send up of The Hangover actor Rob Riggle. His online persona partakes in several of Riggle's “likes,” including drinking Pepsi NEXT, skeet shooting and “painting inspirational watercolors of trains.”

The Verdict:

Yuchun Lee is VP of enterprise marketing management at IBM Industry Solutions and also serves on the DMA's board of directors. Lee, founder of Unica (now part of IBM), began his first software company while still in high school. He was also a member of MIT's notorious blackjack team. Read our Q&A with Yuchun for more.

With consumers seeking more personalized and tailored marketing, Pepsi hit the nail on the head. This is not only entertaining and relevant, it also maximizes the capabilities of social media by offering tailored experiences for consumers, resulting in increased brand interaction and word-of-mouth.

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