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PepsiCo plans a number of digital engagements for Super Bowl LI

Other digital offerings surrounding the game will include Zone Reads, a comedic series of digital shorts featuring the Pepsi-sponsored roster of NFL athletes; digital-first advertising; a branded hashtag and content partnerships with the likes of Tostitos and Walmart. Pepsi is also a longtime sponsor of the Super Bowl?s Halftime Show, this year attaching its Pepsi Zero Sugar property to the attraction.

?Why Snapchat? For one, it's where (some of) the audience is?specifically, the younger, more strategically desirable audience segment that PepsiCo wants to build loyalty within,? said James McNally, director of digital strategy at TDT, New York.  ?Embracing Snapchat is also an important statement for brands to say, ?Hello, fellow kids, we are a relevant brand.?  

?Plus, like Twitter, Snapchat has a somewhat unique suitability for live sporting events, and I'd expect the platform to embrace and push more sports-related advertising in the future.?

Digital augment
At time of writing, PepsiCo and NFL?s Zone Reads series of digital shorts is already on its ninth installment, and the food and beverage behemoth will surely invest more dollars in promoting it as it gets closer to Super Bowl Sunday. The shorts feature numerous NFL players reading and acting out Tweets about themselves and the teams that they play for.

Users can submit their own Tweets to be read by Tweeting at Pepsi?s account, along with the promoted hashtag for series? next episode. For example, the latest episode had players responding to Tweets tagged #GrabAJacket. 

?PepsiCo's Zone Reads are a way that the company can mimic a sense of dialog between fans, the soda brand, and NFL players,? Mr. McNally said. ?For a brand, this is one of the holy grails of sports-related advertising: not only are players endorsing the brand, but they are involving fans in the conversation by having some fan tweets recited on air. 

?Pepsico's Zone Reads may not be a perfectly authentic ?conversation? between brand, fan and athlete, but at least it's an attempt.?

The specifics of Pepsi?s partnership with Snapchat have not been outlined as of yet, but a press release promises engagements for ?live content? and ?lenses in-game? during the Super Bowl, continuing the platform?s successes in convincing brands to adopt its unique AR capabilities, which have been a knockout success with users.

Content partnership
Pepsi also partnered with Tostitos to release videos  featuring NFL stars such as Drew Brees and Von Miller promoting the companies' products, and has partnered with Walmart to create a video starring Joe Flacco.

PepsiCo?s focus on NFL viewers is no surprise to marketers, and the soda purveyor does not seem to have any plans on ending its partnership with the league any time soon. In fact, Pepsi went so far as to ink a targeted partnership with WinView, an application popular with millennials that allows users to make live predictions on games to win money (see story). 

?Mobile is truly a focal point for all real-time conversation around sporting events,? Mr. McNally said. ?While fans are watching, they are Tweeting or reading Tweets, consuming Snaps and Instagram posts related to the event ? and this is largely happening on mobile. 

?Mobile engagement around live sporting events is fertile ground for brands who can own or shape those conversations, so for a brand like Pepsi ? essentially 99 percent reliant on brand identity and consumer perception (and perhaps 1% reliant on the inherent attributes of its product)?this is a crucial space to be active in.?