Why Pepsi Reigns As The #1 Trending Brand on Foursquare

The unlock text for Pepsico's new global Foursquare badge reads "Beach, BBQs, Parks and sun – what could be better? By unlocking this badge, you’re eligible to win awesome prizes. Now time to relax and unwind – it’s summertime!"

It’s summer, and according to Pepsi‘s latest campaign, “Summer Time is Pepsi Time.”  Pepsi launched the Foursquare element of this campaign over the July 4th weekend, with a national TV spot encouraging viewers to follow Pepsi on Foursquare and “unlock summer fun.”  According to MediaPost, this is the first major CPG brand to include Foursquare in a national TV commercial, and the first time Pepsi will offer a global Foursquare badge.

The TV spot “Uncle Teddy” – the second one in the campaign – was previewed on Pepsi’s Facebook and YouTube pages the morning of July 3rd, before premiering on that night’s “America’s Got Talent” broadcast. The original ad for the campaign, with a Pepsi-loving Santa and his elves vacationing at a tropical resort, has been updated to include the Foursquare messaging as well.

How Pepsi’s Foursquare campaign works:

  • Pepsi designated locations around the world – including beaches, parks, ballparks, concert venues and pools
  • Fans can earn badges by checking in from any 3 of these locations
  • Earning badges qualifies fans to be entered into sweepstakes for prizes
  • Fans can show off their Foursquare-earned Pepsi badge on their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts

Shiv Singh, PepsiCo’s Head of Digital (and member of the #RLTM advisory board) told MediaPost that getting people to check in “strengthens the connection between their real-world experiences and the Pepsi brand, thereby strengthening Pepsi’s  ‘ownership’ of ‘Summer Time is Pepsi Time.'”  He believes that being able to show off one’s Foursquare badges on Facebook and Twitter – or “badge equity” – is even more of a motivation for fans than winning prizes.

How does Pepsi get fans to follow them on Foursquare?

  • The above-mentioned TV ads, which will run through the summer
  • Aggressive use of Twitter to drive Foursquare participation, with “small, strategic” buys, including a message about the badge on #Happy4thofJuly over the holiday weekend
  • Ad takeovers on Yahoo, AOL and other high-profile Web properties over the July 4th weekend, which drive users to the “Uncle Teddy” video, and then to the Foursquare link
  • The campaign’s in-store promotional materials include a QR code–once scanned, it connects users to the campaign commercials or other campaign content

The results:

  • Pepsi has been the #1 trending Brand on Foursquare since July 3
  • The “Uncle Teddy” video received 1.2 million views within the first 36 hours
  • The spot is now at over 1.56 million views, less than ten days after launch

Will this combination of traditional TV advertising with geo-location, checkins and badges become more commonplace among big-name brands?  And is it possible – or desirable – for brands to measure the effectiveness of each campaign element, including TV, digital advertising, Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook and QR codes?

For more info on Pepsi’s use of realtime and social media, see Shiv Singh’s case study “The Future of the Realtime Brand” from our #RLTM Realtime NY 11 conference on June 6, 2011.