Back in April, PepsiCo announced a global marketing platform, a music-based initiative dubbed Live For Now, with Nicki Minaj as its launch brand ambassador. Already incorporating Twitter as its key social partner for Live for Now, Pepsi is now looking to tap into music fans tuning into the Video Music Awards by signing up for MTV's advertising product, Reverb, which places ads on television, MTV's website and its new WatchWith social TV app simultaneously.
The year-old app, downloaded close to one million times, lets fans follow Facebook comments and tweets about a particular program (along with information about past episodes) and as of three months ago, banner ads were introduced. So tonight, during the MTV Video Music Awards, rapper Minaj will appear in a new Pepsi commercial at 8:30 pm and anyone on the mobile app or MTV.com will see the interactive ad, too. (Minaj recently held a Live for Now concert in New York with Pepsi and Fuse.)
"It is a little bit of the Wild West but what we know the adoption and usage is only growing. We are going to have to have a solution," observed Chad Stubbs, senior director of media for beverages at PepsiCo, to the Wall Street Journal.
Multitasking media consumption is mother’s milk to wired millennials with 84% of smartphone owners and 86% of tablet owners on mobile devices while watching television at least once daily during any given month according to Nielsen, and Bluefin Labs reports social media commentary on TV programs reached 76 million in July – up from 8.8 million in July 2011 reports the WSJ.
PepsiCo isn't the only marketer on board with Reverb for the 2012 VMA's, by the way — Verizon Wireless is kicking the tires, too, while Kraft plans to test the product at a later date. The power of marketing to digital savvy music fans via the VMAs was shown during last year’s telecast, when Beyoncé revelation of her pregnancy generated 8,868 tweets a second.
In another social digital move, the MTV Music Experiment returned in August with a staggered social media rollout of another set of free concerts, sponsored by Intel. The first one was held August 30 in Chapel Hill, NC, featuring Santigold. As people tweet the URL and hashtag #musicexperiment, a heat map, designed by Omnigon Communications gradually revealed the "secret" venue.
Four games, titled Music Trivia, Personality Match, Word Scramble and Mystery Image, are on offer via the MTV Music Experiment Facebook app, with prizes including VIP passes, an after-show event and an Ultrabook from Intel.
“How can we make the connection that fans and artists have built through social media, turn it into a full-on creative collaboration, and reinvent the concert experience?’ That’s the question driving The Music Experiment,” commented Nusrat Durrani, general manager of MTV Iggy, to DMW Media.
The artists and cities involved in the secret concerts include Of Monsters and Men (New York, NY), Santigold (Chapel Hill, NC) and coming up, The Jezabels (Portland, OR), and a special guest (Los Angeles, CA). Fans attending the concerts, according to the release, are “instructed to dress theme-appropriately, as they will be showcased in music videos, social media and additional content generated from the shows.”
"Particularly with young people, they passively watch TV and have devices right next to them and love to talk, why not take our advertising partners with us to be part of the engagement," stated Van Toffler, president of Viacom Music & Logo Group in the WSJ.
There’s no question that 31 years later, the cultural reverb with the young, hip and savvy is as strong as ever and that the current generation still wants their MTV — and any brands willing to go along for the ride, perhaps, too.