Becoming The UK’s Most Social Beverage Brand – Pepsi Max at Social Speakeasy

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Social SpeakeasyWith Pepsi Max’s new “Genius” campaign officially kicking off this week, the timing of Aman Matharu, Digital Marketing Manager at PepsiCo’s, address at our most recent Social Speakeasy couldn’t have been better.

Aman addressed an eager crowd of Social Speakeasy attendees on a balmy spring evening to share the secrets of the brand’s recent social success, specifically in video, which has achieved global scale and recognition.

To understand the digital transformation the Pepsi Max brand has undergone, Aman gave us a snapshot of the brand’s media spend when he started back in January 2013, in which TV dominated, with Out of Home coming in second and digital third.

This left the brand in a tight spot when it came to building brand equity as TV wasn’t doing the job with millennials and Pepsi Max wanted to drive greater scale.

Though the sales of Pepsi Max were good, the writing was on the wall – if they wanted to build brand affinity, it had to be through digital channels with a huge focus on video.

Thus, Pepsi Max built a “digital first” approach in which the brand’s vision was clear: Make Pepsi Max the choice of a new generation once again.

Beyoncé and Dynamo join the party

Pepsi Max’s foray into digital began with a Twitter competition featuring brand ambassador Beyoncé during her 2013 UK tour. The brand managed to turn a standard “meet and greet” promotion into the year’s biggest Twitter competition.

The mechanic was simple, fans simply tweeted the Promoted Trend hashtag, #MeetBeyonce, to be positioned in a virtual queue hosted on the Pepsi Max site. At three random times during the day, the person at the front of the queue won the meet and greet tickets.

Campaign awareness was generated through Promoted Tweets in search and in timelines targeting relevant keywords such as “Beyonce”, “love Beyonce”, “Jay Z” and “Beyonce tour.”

In addition to keyword targeting, @PepsiMaxUK activated gender, geography and device targeting to specifically reach women located in the United Kingdom, on mobile.

The competition resulted in over 150 000 brand mentions and doubled @PepsiMaxUk’s following on Twitter. More importantly though, it kicked off the brand’s belief in digital as a channel to achieve reach on a mass scale.

Shortly thereafter, Pepsi Max teamed up with Dynamo to shoot the “Bus Levitation” video, which was viewed over 10 million times in one week, proof of Matharu’s mantra that “outstanding content and distribution is how to reach millions of consumers and engage on a mass scale”.

Driving consistency and eyeballs in 2014

Both the Beyonce and Dynamo pieces were great campaign big bangs, but Pepsi Max wanted to continue to drive consistancy.

So in 2014, the Pepsi Max team developed a content led strategy that focussed on video to drive share of voice through consistent, Unbelievable content.

Pepsi Max leveraged Google’s “Hero / Hub / Hygiene” framework, in which one big Hero piece is created to achieve mass reach and drive to channel, several Hub pieces are created on a more frequent basis to achieve earned reach and frequency and Hygiene pieces are created continually from Global assets and authentic crowdsourced content.

“For us, 2014 was about great content and great distribution,” said Matharu. “We wanted the best of both worlds, ie. good content and good media, not one or the other.”

“At the end of the day, it’s all about reach for us. Engagements don’t get people buying product, reach does,” said Matharu, and the results speak for themselves.

The results

Pepsi Max’s video-focussed “Digital-First” model is driving improvements in media ROI, according to millennials, Pepsi Max is now the Most Social beverage brand in UK, and 6th overall.

Pepsi Max’s digital strategy has been so successful that other PepsiCo brands such as Mountain Dew, Lipton Ice Tea and 7UP are adapting best practises from Pepsi Max and “lifting and shifting” what works with encouraging results.

Onward and upward

So what can we expect from Pepsi Max in 2015?

This week the brand will officially launch its “Genius” campaign which will see the brand shift from viral video to branded content, from content reach beyond paid digital and from a multitude of competing tactics to one Genius campaign. Drone Football is the latest piece of content from the brand – 

The brand’s paid social alone will reach the majority of its target audience within 3 days through Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and social video advertising platform Unruly. Expect packaging innovation, tech enabled products and, content in jaw-dropping new formats.


Following Aman’s address, the floor was opened up for a Q&A session in which he shared some interesting insights, namely:

  • Facebook is still King when it comes to cost effectiveness and is the most mature platform in terms of social media offerings
  • While PepsiCo is open to trying new platforms, they have to have scale and reach to be considered
  • Analysing available sales data was crucial in terms of getting buy-in at a board level to shift more spend and resources toward digital. The numbers spoke for themselves, all their sales came from an older audience and their penetration in the millennial market was minimal
  • Lastly, and most importantly, if you really want it to pay back for business objectives you have to put media behind it. If there is no paid behind it, there is no point in making it

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