- Pepsi will kick off summertime this month with special Snapcodes packaging and a cinnamon-flavored version of its signature cola brand in its "Get It While It's Hot" campaign. The limited-edition Pepsi Fire will be among the company’s soft drinks with specialized packaging that smartphone users can interact with, the company announced in a press release.
- Starting on May 22, Pepsi’s brand packaging will feature Snapcodes, which are 2-D bar codes the Snapchat mobile app can read using a smartphone camera. Scanning the code will unlock exclusive social media lenses and geofilters and a Pepsi game. By playing the mobile game, users can enter a sweepstakes to win prizes like gaming consoles, a trip to Lollapalooza or a "Conan" show meet-and-greet, said Lauren Cohen, Pepsi’s director of marketing.
- Meanwhile, PepsiCo signed a marketing agreement with China's Alibaba Group that will use the e-commerce giant’s customer data to help in brand building, channel management and product innovation. The companies have worked together on online marketing campaigns after Pepsi opened a flagship store on Tmall, Alibaba’s business-to-consumer marketplace, five years ago.
Pepsi’s “Get It While It’s Hot” campaign is the latest soft-drink promotion that relies on mobile interaction with customers. Last week, Coca-Cola’s Canadian unit and music streaming service Spotify brought back their “Play a Coke” promotion with an app that links song playlists to soda bottles.
In general, there has been a resurgence in interest in QR codes as platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, Spotify, Pinterest and others embrace them. Previously, QR codes were a focus of mobile marketing but faded because of low engagement rates. It remains to be seen if this time around the experiences are compelling enough to encourage consumers to engage.
The company's challenge is to stay relevant to the next "Pepsi Generation." The soft-drink industry is coping with a sea change in consumption habits as people become more aware of the health problems related to obesity and sugar's potential role. The industry is also under attack from some municipalities like Philadelphia, which this year started taxing sugary drinks at 1.5 cents per ounce. Pepsi and Coca-Cola saw per capita consumption of soda decline last year fall to a 31-year low, according to Beverage-Digest.
Meanwhile, Snapchat needs to continue working with major brands to grow its audience beyond its current 166 million users, a fraction of what Facebook and Instagram have. Facebook continues to add features that mimic Snapchat’s tools — fun filters and overlays to images — pressuring the smaller company to innovate faster.