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Pepsi encourages millennials to hang out and earn mobile rewards

By leveraging mobile location to award points to friends who are hanging out together, PepsiCo is attempting to add more mobile fizz to its new loyalty program and gain an edge over Coca-Cola.

Pepsi is following in its competitor Coca-Cola?s footsteps by allowing fans to enter codes found on participating products to receive the in-app rewards points, but is aiming to expand consumer outreach by offering points to those who hang out with fellow users. Loyalty programs are a must-have for major beverage brands with significant amounts of customer consumption, and Pepsi is likely attempting to attract a younger demographic with its musically inclined approach.

?Pepsi is literally rewarding fans for having fun and hanging out with friends,? said Linda Lagos, director of marketing at PepsiCo, Purchase, NY. ?One of the coolest features on Pepsi Pass is a location-based update that will award points to friends who have downloaded the app and are hanging out with each other.

?This happens seamlessly in the background,? she said. ?No need to tag friends, or to check in. 

?Additionally, the phone?s camera will act as a scanner of under-the-cap codes and UPC on cans to let users quickly capture their points via product purchase. Again, letting them gain points for their loyalty, more seamlessly than ever before.?

Mobile mindset
Pepsi encourages fans to open the Pepsi Pass app hourly to catch a glimpse of all of the attainable musical rewards, a smart tactic to ensure that in-app activity stays high. The app, which is available for iOS and Android devices, enables consumers to manually enter or scan codes found on participating Pepsi products to collect rewards points.

One unique feature of the Pepsi Pass app is that it allows fans to be rewarded for simply hanging out with friends, as consumers who spend time with fellow users of the app will also receive additional points. This strategy may fuel more downloads and ensure the app does not become a waste of prime real estate on customers? mobile devices.

?We?ve had a very successful loyalty program called PxP for two years,? Ms. Lago said. ?We decided to take it to the next level and launch Pepsi Pass to tap into the huge network of our fans who are interested in experiencing live entertainment, both music and sports, and for whom mobile is a primary digital interface.

?Pepsi Pass was created to reward fans for interacting with our products, but also for just hanging out with their friends and living life.?

Once users have signed up for and downloaded Pepsi Pass, they may check the app each hour to view new prizes or access a slew of other points-based rewards, including dining credit with Pepsi?s partner restaurants and trips to summer music festivals.

The ?Pop Open Music? campaign aims to deliver easy access to live sporting events and summer music festivals to fans, and highlights Pepsi?s mobile-first outlook for music listening. This tactic will likely resonate positively with millennials and consumers in younger demographics who eschew MP3 devices in lieu of playing music on their mobile devices.

Fans who are not as musically inclined and would prefer to spend their rewards points elsewhere will have the opportunity to win a slew of hospitality and food prizes, such as hotel stays at SLS Miami and Las Vegas as well as gift cards to Hard Rock Café, Applebee?s and more.

The role of mobile in this campaign is paramount, as members will need to use their devices exclusively to access rewards.

?Pepsi's app will serve similar functions as other major brands' loyalty apps, but will also include a unique feature,? said Melissa Greenberg, general manager at mobile advertising agency Fetch, New York. ?Besides being product-focused, the app will reward fans for having fun and hanging out with their friends who also have the app.

?This innovative incentive differentiates the app from others and shifts the focus to something more than just a Pepsi product,? she said. ?This gives the app a more personal feeling and helps Pepsi connect more with its fans.

?Building a user fan base will take time, but a core group of users will be established if the app is successful and engaging.?

The Coke comparison
Fellow beverage marketer Coca-Cola has also been employing a heavier mobile focus this year with the release of its My Coke Rewards platform. My Coke Rewards also seeks to create emotional connections with users, and centers its content on activities and sports that consumers may enjoy (see story).

Perks are also offered to bump consumers up to Bronze, Silver and Gold status levels, if there is a particular prize they have their eye on.

However, Coca-Cola?s most unique rewards aspect allows members to donate their My Coke Rewards points to special causes and schools, such as United Service Organizations, the Special Olympics and American Red Cross, instead of redeeming for material rewards.

Pepsi?s loyalty platform has more of a leisure mindset, and consequently, may have a larger chance at grasping younger consumers? attention.

?Our fans have very close relationships with their mobile devices,? Pepsi?s Ms. Lagos said. ?To successfully communicate with them, we always have to think mobile first in our strategy.

?Pepsi Pass will be available as an iOS and Android app as well as a web site so consumers can earn and redeem points whenever they want. The app also features modern UX design principles like swiping gestures and pull down menus tailored to our fan?s mobile habits.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York