In a first-ever move, soft drink major Pepsi has launched an online commercial targeting the youth. The three-part 'webisode' will run on Yahoo!India the whole of this week. Interestingly, the webisode is a precursor to a TV commercial that will follow on September 16. The webisode of the commercial features Pepsi brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan.
Said Vipul Prakash, EVP-Marketing, Pepsi Foods Ltd, "Pepsi has always aimed at connecting with the youth by introducing initiatives that capture the pulse of this audience. This online initiative reiterates the innovative edge of Pepsi of uniting the two mediums for the first time and involve the customers in it."
Prakash elaborated that the basic strategy for the ad was very simple. "Pepsi is regarded as a brand with a very high level of awareness. But we think that this awareness is no longer sufficient for our brand and, therefore, active consumer engagement is something that the brand wants to move towards and for that, we believe that the Internet/wireless space offers us a huge opportunity. Therefore, we are running the Pepsi online contest featuring the animated version of the first webisode, where Shah Rukh Khan plays the lead protagonist."
Prakash described the ad as a continuation of the Oye Bubbly campaign. "Shah Rukh Khan is basically a flirtatious snake charmer. His 'pyaas' for Pepsi is so much that he uses the snake-charmer's tune to basically get the Pepsi. It's a continuation of the Oye Bubbly campaign," he said.
"We are going to have a programme for our mobile users after two weeks when the TVC is on air. No ads are going to be put in print. We are planning to have some youth campaigns in colleges and some direct campaigns to reach the masses. The online response has been really good on the first day," he added.
Pearl Uppal, Sales Director of Yahoo!India, observed, "This campaign is a first of its kind in India, where the Internet commercial was produced simultaneously with the TV commercial. Moreover, the commercial has hit the web a week before it will be aired on television. It is representative of the increasing importance that youth marketers like Pepsi are attributing to the digital media. The Internet is not only about targeting the relevant audience with minimal spillover, it is also about unleashing the power of interactive advertising, and this campaign takes a giant stride towards this objective."
She added that Pepsi had integrated its online activity earlier in the year by promoting its Pepsizone on the portal. The campaign results led to Pepsi and Yahoo!India jointly commission an online research study with Internet research pioneers, Dynamic Logic, to understand the impact of online advertising on conventional brand matrix.