At the onset of the eighth season of Indian Premier League this year, beverage brand Pepsi had embarked on a courageous move on digital that surely deserves a pat on its back. It handed the brand baton to its fans through the rather disruptive crowdsourcing campaign on social media titled ‘Crash the Pepsi IPL’. The contest invited fans to make a 30-second commercial showing their love for Pepsi, with the promise that the best ads would be aired during the IPL matches. Apart from their 30 seconds of fame, the winners will also receive a cash prize of Rs.1 lakh.
The best entries would be chosen by a panel consisting of the brand ambassador, Ranbir Kapoor, music director Pritam Chakraborty, film producer and director Gautham Menon, Pepsico India senior director marketing Ruchira Jaitly and advertising veteran-turned author Anuja Chauhan.
The contest is still on and has already found a few stars. Aspiring filmmaker Nikita Deshpande’s entry won in the first round and received the airtime it deserved, while Pranav Bhasin and Paul Joji Kokkat have won in the succeeding rounds. A Popular Choice winner will also be decided from all the finalists, with the help of user votes.
On the digital front, Pepsi leveraged a number of tactics to reach out to its target consumer group, by teaming up with content creators. In the first phase of the launch, Pepsi created an ad to invite fans to make ads for them and associated it with the campaign website Crash the Pepsi IPL.
The 35-second ad film features Pepsi brand ambassadors Ranbir Kapoor and Virat Kohli in a hilarious script where a family teaches them how to make an ad. Along with the ad brief, the do’s and dont’s, a Pepsi Tool kit was also provided on the website with essential resources like Painter Babu for brand logos, Music Da for the official soundtrack, Camera Boss for the video clips, Sound Anna for SFX sounds like bongo, pour, last sip, etc., and Idea Guru for ideas.
The buzz was built with engagement contests on social media that invited users to share their idea for the next Pepsi ad. Read “Crash the Pepsi IPL: Pepsi Invites Consumers To Create Ads For IPL8”.
Leveraging content creators
In the second phase, the brand tapped into the communities of content creators on the internet – bloggers and Youtubers, to help spread the buzz. To add to it, it also roped in IPL teams to crash the Pepsi IPL. Pepsi launched a blogging contest where bloggers were given the creative freedom to select a theme and write about the ads they have watched. The most quirky posts won vouchers.
YouTubers, Kanan Gill and Biswa Kalyan, of ‘Pretentious Reviews’ fame got together for their own version of the Pepsi ad. This hilarious ad might not be selected by Pepsi, but it sure has managed to tap into the subscribers of their YouTube channels.
Kolkata Knight Riders also crash the Pepsi IPL in their inimitable style. The ad was launched following a Twitter buzz that asked KKR fans to unlock it with one lakh tweets using #CrashThePepsiIPLWithKKR.
Hanging out on Google Plus
Pepsi did get Indians to come on to Google Plus by hosting Q&A hangouts with popular video creators like The Viral Fever and Being Indian. Aspiring people could ask questions to the team regarding tips to make good ads and these were answered via the Hangout.
— The Viral Fever (@TheViralFever) April 20, 2015
Risky or Disruptive?
Pepsi is doing well in the country compared to its competitors. The beverage brand has always made it a point to leverage every cricket season with its interesting campaigns. It has the best brand ambassadors from the two most popularly followed categories – cricket and Bollywood. So, for a large brand like Pepsi that has the budgets to give to the best agencies in the country, isn’t asking consumers to create their ads a huge risk?
For Pepsi, this crowdsourcing campaign is a win-win. Millennials want to be involved in brand talk. They want to be a part of the brand voice and this ad film challenge thrown by Pepsi forms the right platform for them. Moreover, new age consumers have new age consumption patterns, most of them are all creators too, leading to this massive rise in amateur but good content on social networks. Pepsi has managed to provide a larger platform and a chance at fame for this new generation of content creators with ‘Crash the Pepsi IPL.
Tying up with Youtubers, bloggers and new age media companies like The Viral Fever and Being Indian is the right way forward for a millennial targeting brand. Not only has it created a platform for aspiring ad film makers, but also paved the path for new trends in digital engagement.