PepsiCo is taking humorous branded entertainment very seriously. Witness the digital campaign to promote its now-rolling-out Pepsi NEXT beverage: "Drink It to Believe It," offering the first-ever "Internet Taste Test" on Facebook.
Combining humor and a virtual sensory experience, the campaign kicks-off with comedian Rob Riggle in a ‘how-to’ video, above, about the test while watching his online persona "trying" Pepsi NEXT. Other video impressions of digerati "taking their first sip" of the new cola with 60% less sugar include social marketing maven Gary Vaynerchuk and Internet meme, Scumbag Steve.
The Internet Taste Test Facebook app invites fans to opt in for the chance to watch themselves "taste" new Pepsi NEXT as a dozen Funny or Die improv comics perform their impressions using information from social profiles, like "likes" and “experiences.”
"To launch Pepsi NEXT, we're focused on getting consumers to 'Drink it to Believe it' – even online, in a fun and uniquely digital way," said Shiv Singh, Head of Digital, PepsiCo Beverages. "The Pepsi NEXT Internet Taste Test demonstrates how a brand can utilize social media to create consumer-driven, personalized branded entertainment."
PepsiCo is rolling out Pepsi NEXT with caution, as the history of midcalorie sodas “is littered with failed attempts,” notes Ad Age.
"There are a lot of skeptics," said Pepsi marketing VP Angelique Krembs. "What first gave me confidence was the blind taste-test with our bottlers. When they realized one of the products was Pepsi Next, they were blown away.”
PepsiCo plans to invest more than $600 million in marketing this year. "This is the broadest view of a launch that we've had. It's not one month and we're out," Krembs said of the Pepsi NEXT push. "I believe a new product is a new product for two years. We'll be watching closely, and we'll correct what needs to be corrected. We're taking a long-term view of support for this brand.”
Check out the first batch of Internet Taste Test videos below: