ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

Pepsi bets big on augmented reality to fuel 2015 Super Bowl mobile strategy

Pepsi is activating nearly 20 million cans in the Northeast United States with augmented reality as part of a bigger digital push around the Super Bowl XLIX in 2015.

The soda giant is enlisting mobile leading up to its 2015 sponsorship of the National Football League?s Super Bowl XLIX. The augmented reality is powered by the Blippar application.

?CPG brands are recognizing that the package itself can be a vehicle to spark consumer engagement and interaction,? said Ambarish Mitra, CEO/founder of Blippar, London.

Augmented soda
Pepsi has plastered mobile calls-to-action on regular Pepsi, Pepsi Next and Pepsi Max cans and 20-ounce bottles. 

The products are available in Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Vermont. 

To activate the campaign, consumers must download the Blippar iPhone or Android app.

These products include an on-pack call-to-action that walks consumers through how to bring the can to life through augmented reality.

When consumers scan the side of the can, a scene of a locker room pops up on the screen.

The center of the screen features a call-to-action prompting consumers to enter to win tickets to the 2015 Super Bowl.

From there, participants can register an account and fill out an entry form.

The augmented reality campaign also includes a mobile photo-sharing element where consumers can pose next to seven different NFL players. These photos can be shared via Facebook, Twitter or email.

Additionally, there is a button within the blipp that directs consumers to a microsite where they can see what others are saying about the campaign. Pepsi is also executing a social media campaign leading up to the Super Bowl with the hashtag #FanEnough.

The mobile Super Bowl effort runs through March 31. 

For the 2014 Super Bowl game, Pepsi is reportedly buying two 30-second TV spots, which will likely include mobile as a key part in how Pepsi ties together the broad reach of a TV ad to the smartphone and tablet devices that consumers are plugged into while watching the game.

Given the growth in mobile as a second-screen device in the past year, it is not hard to imagine that the medium will play a greater role for Pepsi in the 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII.

Last year, Pepsi launched a microsite that leveraged photo-sharing to give fans a chance to be featured in a crowdsourced halftime commercial (see story). 

Building brand awareness
This is the first time that Pepsi is leveraging Blippar on an actual product in the U.S., but the soda giant has run two other smaller campaigns leveraging the technology in the past.

In one case, Applebee?s leveraged augmented reality to bring table tents to life as part of a Pepsi, Bud Light and Miller Coors promotion. 

The soda giant has also used augmented reality in Britain with its Pepsi Max brand. Consumers could hover their mobile devices with the app open over bottles for a campaign featuring television magician Dynamo.

Besides augmented reality, Pepsi has used other forms of mobile technology to activate static pieces of collateral in the past.

In 2012, Pepsi ran a QR code initiative as part of its Live for Now campaign where consumers could scan a cup to access video content (see story). 

It is no surprise that QR codes continue to lose some of their luster, making augmented reality an alternative for marketers looking to leverage mobile with static packaging.

?While we'll see continued innovation and experimentation with new technologies in 2014, augmented reality has the greatest potential to change how brands connect with their consumers,? Mr. Mitra said.

?By making products, advertisements, and logos interactive, AR will enable the creation of an entirely new digital ecosystem whereby anything in the physical world can be brought to life,? he said. ?Once consumers have been educated and are familiar with this behavior, more and more brands will seek out ways to use AR in the months and years ahead.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York