As a major sponsor on Simon Cowell's American version of The X Factor now airing on FOX, it's in Pepsi's interest to engage fans in the series.
That's why it's behind two digital platforms to do just that: Pepsi Pulse and Pepsi Sound Off, which combine gamification and social TV to enhance the viewing experience, and deliver on the promise that fans would experience the program in ways “never imagined.”
Pepsi Pulse digitally visualizes conversations about The X Factor such as checkmarks with the text "3 people agree with Simon" or a mass of hearts with the text "25 people love X Factor." Roll over the hearts or checkmarks and tweets pop up.
Pepsi Sound Off, a Twitter-based platform, lets fans connect during the show via gaming with viewers posting comments in a stream and organizing streams by popular hashtags which can be pushed to Twitter or Facebook.
"Twitter or Facebook are sometimes too broad of a place to have those nonstop conversations [about a show]. A large number of friends who follow [fans] on Twitter or are their friends on Facebook couldn't care less," said Andrea Harrison, director-PepsiCo Beverages digital engagement, to Ad Age.
Providing a qualitative rather than quantitative view of consumer conversations, users earn bottle caps for use in their updates and comments and enough ‘likes’ put them "in the spotlight" with the most popular featured weekly in customized 15-second spots created with Ghost Robot and OMD Content Collective.
Pepsi created these two social media platforms in the past three weeks to generate buzz about the show – enticing participation with the possibility that a winner will appear in a Pepsi spot to be aired at the Super Bowl. Pepsi will promote the new apps with a commercial starring Kevin McHale from Glee.
The platform is from startup Gigya, which leverages gamification to socialize websites using leaderboards, leveling up, and user rewards – and in this case Rookies can quickly ascend to Ambassador.
“The thing that is exciting for us is that it gives us a high level of visibility. They are using pretty much every feature we have in a very big way. This is the first of many different Pepsi properties we will be launching with,” commented Gigya CEO Patrick Salyer. Gigya has 400 plus customers and competes with Badgeville, Big Door and Bunchball.
“It’s like recreating the living room couch in social media,” Harrison said. “We can use this in other pop culture events that Pepsi is involved in.”
Conversations around Super Bowl or the Grammys? This latest move puts Pepsi at the top in the leaderboard of social gamification.