Spam: Pepsi Razzle Dazzle But Frazzles With Video (where’s the why?)

by Lori Taylor · 4 comments

Pepsi calls their new campaign “Social Vending” they are promoting with a video highlighting their technology giving you a fun and easy way to gift a friend a drink.


Except Pepsi forgot about the fun part.

Don’t get me wrong.  They’re on the right track as the US virtual goods market is sizzling!

In fact, it’s projected to reach $2.1 billion overall in 2011 according to the report Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market 2010 – 2011.  And while virtual gifts are gaining traction in the US, no one seems to be knocking it out of the park.

(Correct me if I’m wrong, please.)

Yet if you look at countries like China where virtual gifts has become a way of life which someone should be swinging for the fences.

(Being ahead of the trend is the best way to maximize your opportunities.)

Virtual gifts are an exciting way for any brand to leverage their consumers social networks to distribute products they love with their friends. Using video to demonstrate your hot new app is the exact approach you should be taking.

BUT (and it’s a big but)…

You must make sure you create an engaging story within the video showcasing the ease of taking action, inspiring the customer to take action RIGHT NOW.

Unfortunately, this is where Pepsi misses the mark making one classic mistake.

They give you too many options. It’s what I call the “Razzle, Dazzle, Frazzle” approach. It doesn’t work. Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean.

Sadly in my book this campaign is “Spam”.

What do they want me to do?  I have no clue.

Too many options, too little brain cells.

As a social media marketer, my opinion is the best shot for a Pepsi to hit a “Grand Slam” is to start a wave of people gifting their friends a Pepsi.

Yet 52 seconds later my eyes are watering from a yawn as I almost miss the only thing I’d care about – which is sending a Pepsi to a friend.

They don’t even kiss me first before they’re telling me I can buy a Pepsi, connect with the Pepsi refresh gallery or gift a friend.

Then before I can have an opinion, they’re straight on to 2nd base…

Touch a screen and buy a drink, sealing the deal with the spotlight on how I can see the nutritional value of all their flavors??


Sure it’s “cool” they can do that, but who cares about nutritional values?

It’s a PEPSI – it’s NOT healthy for you – you just like it right?

The bottom line is this should be broken up into THREE videos.

Each one needs the emotional aspect of how a friend would react to getting a Pepsi. Perhaps a “I Could’ve Had A V8” approach, a Maxwell House old school coffee scene, or even mimic the approach of an old Lifesaver commercial.

For example, couldn’t Pepsi show a kid bummed about a loss of a baseball game, dirty and hot as he sadly updates his Facebook status as a “loser”?

Then imagine they cut to a scene of a friend or parent who sees it and immediately uses the phone to send a Pepsi to cheer them on.

Watching the smile break out on a 14 year old boy’s face?

Come ON, can’t you just feel your heart melt thinking about it?

(Now that a first kiss I won’t forget – AND I’ll share with my closest friends immediately.)

If Pepsi REALLY wanted to get creative they could also create a pre-programmed message from Pepsi to go with the gift with a tagline “Life Can Be Hard So We Made Drinking Pepsi Easy”.

Or they could leverage their Pepsi Challenge theme, “When Life’s a Challenge, Who’s On Deck In Your Life”. Something like that would work great for Pepsi and your brand too!

Build a STORY around your brand to make me care about the latest technology you’ve created to make buying your product something I can’t resist.

Facebook’s new iframes make it SO easy for ANY brand to create a way to virtually send a gift to anyone.  Unfortunately it’s too easy.  Which can trap you into making out with your widget and “featuring” it up instead of focusing on the problem you solve.

Appeal to my need to connect with my friends by connecting with ME first.

(Which simply means you MUST move me emotionally to move my cursor happily to BUY NOW.)

My point?

Stories sell everything every time, no matter the medium, don’t you agree?

Lori Taylor


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Yomar June 9, 2011 at 9:44 am

AWESOME close! Storytelling is HUGE. I see companies jumping on the social media bandwagon but they miss the point. Is it laziness or ignorance? Maybe both?

I look at silly videos that go viral and they all have a few things in common: they elicit a strong emotion, th stay on-point, and they are highly actionable. From what you said, it took Pepsi WAY to long to get to the really real point. It’s an opportunity we can all work on; otherwise, we’re just creating more noise.


Lori Taylor June 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Thanks! The key for everyone is to create content that has value. Whether it is a video or a blog post; and advertisement or an information pitch; whatever you are doing, you need to create content that makes the consumer feel as if they have been enriched in some way.


Lori Taylor June 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Thank you so much! Have you read Peter Guber’s new book Tell It To Win? Fantastic read. I think many people believe social media is “free” way to shout to the world. No illusions about TV or radio because of “costs” but kids have Facebook – g’mas have Facebook – I mean ANY one can dip toe in. It’s when people have the illusions that social media is a a perfect acquisition strategy in and of itself. Quite frankly the best use of social media (ie ROI) comes when you have customers or a community already and you use the social platforms to communicate BETTER. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words come back soon!


Lori Taylor July 6, 2011 at 6:26 am

I know! It’s tough to not be noisy isn’t it? You want to contribute but sometimes it’s nothing more than noise. Chris Voss had a great post on this way back – saying be original – don’t just RT him but come up with your own point of view. I love watching junk go viral, trying to figure out why and then applying the tactic for “good” 🙂


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