Social mashup goes mainstream: Pepsi Hit Refresh

Earlier this week, Pepsi Australia’s Hit Refresh social media and heavyweight outdoor campaign started it’s promotions activation phase, via a Twitter treasure hunt and the engagement so far has been extremely high. This is a campaign I’ve been working on since late 2009, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing social brand advocacy in action at a grass roots level in the Gen Y and Gen Z demographic. Particularly on Facebook, Fans of the page are spontaneously sharing their love of Pepsi, requesting the treasure hunt come to their city, and enjoying the MTV TV spots.

There are a few points about this campaign that makes it distinctive in both the social media and advertising landscape in Australia:

  1. The Hit Refresh site acts as a social aggregator so removes any barriers to entry. Being on Twitter is not a requirement to follow or participate in the treasure hunt (winners get a $250 Refresh card to spend as they choose). Instead, they can watch the clues turn up on the Twitter section of the website, or watch the clues turn up on the Tweets tab of the PepsiAustralia Facebook Page
  2. The site is a mashup of social APIs. It uses the Twitter API  but filters it via specific hashtags to only show treasure hunt clues. Hit Refresh site also uses Twitpic’s API, filtered via hashtag to show only those tagged as #refreshwin. It makes it easy to follow only clues, and winners. The Google Maps API displays the region for each of the daily hunts.
  3. There is a hashtag structure related to the geography of the Twitter treasure hunt, so those who are advanced Twitter users can set up a search specific to the city they’re wanting to follow clues on, e.g #refreshsyd, related to Sydney specific clues #refreshmelb, on the days the hunt is on in Melbourne
  4. The Twitter followers are a range of those who follow because of the treasure hunt and those who are interested in the campaign from a social marketing point of view.
  5. Twitter’s being seen/used as the channel for the clues and treasure hunt specific interactions, whilst Facebook is being seen/used as a more general brand engagement, conversational channel.
Pepsi Australia Hit Refresh social mashup

Pepsi Australia Hit Refresh social mashup

A lot of overall campaign feedback, some negative some positive, can be read on the comments on the mUmbrella and Campaign Brief posts, most of them focus on either the creative, or the mechanic. What’s been missed is the bigger picture: that we finally have the Australian region of a global brand embracing social media, for one of the heaviest weight outdoor campaigns in Australia’s history. It’s one of the first times a multi-channel social media campaign has hit the advertising mainstream in Australia.

Australia is the first PepsiCo International market to launch the new look Pepsi trademark across the four Pepsi brand, but the Hit Refresh campaign is a year behind the US in terms of re-brand launch. In the US, the new look Pepsi was launched a year ago during the American Presidential inauguration. A year on, the latest US campaign – Pepsi Refresh Project launches 1 February 2010. It’s already generating huge interest and buzz, by allocating funds normally earmarked for Superbowl advertising to giving away millions of dollars in grants each month to fund great ideas. The Refresh Project concept may or may not be used in the Australian market, but either way Hit Refresh is a significant step forward for the maturity of social media in the region.

Pepsi Australia has chosen its social channel names carefully: PepsiAustralia is used on Facebook and Twitter, a recognition of the benefits of social media not just being short-term tactical campaign support, but as part of a long-term “always on” brand strategy.

I’m interested to hear your opinions of the social aspect of the campaign, please share your thoughts.

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  • scotennis

    Julia – kudos for getting such a big brand to do something with social locally. Great work!

  • http://www.thriftier.com.au/ broadband

    Good Morning, I am such a believer in what Pepsi is doing with this campaign. We own and operate apartment communities in SE Michigan, and we have deployed Social Media Marketing for some time now. The Directional Flow of marketing has changed, and when big brands start to exhibit the courage to do things like drop the Super Bowl Ads, folks will take notice. We also operate and manage over 1,000 blog sites for apartment communities across the nation and we plan on helping Pepsi expand this idea, and get behind it as much as we can, by getting passionate residents fired up about what they are doing,

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  • http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/ Aden Hepburn

    Hey Tip,
    I think the campaign was very cool, what was the interaction like and how many people participated?

    From a measurement perspective, how did you monitor/track the social aspect (seeing social tracking tools can't really tap into facebook) and how did you measure the total success of the whole campaign?

    That's one thing most social campaigns still struggle to do…!

    Chat soon
    Aden

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