Pepsi’s summer campaign turns to the Bad Bunny and QR codes — and the insider data that goes with them

PepsiCo has teamed up with Bad Bunny for the ultimate summer vibes with QR codes and key data pieces of the beverage brand’s summer campaign.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the limited-edition Pepsi bottles will include QR codes that give Apple Music customers access to the summer season, trips to Apple Music Live events, a Beats by Headphones tray and Pepsi-branded merchandise. The campaign is part of the brand’s “Press Play on Summer” initiative.

According to Todd Kaplan, PepsiCo’s chief marketing officer, Pepsi’s approach is to use QR codes to drive traffic to the brand’s websites during the summer because people buy more soft drinks this time of year than any other season. Pepsi is using QR codes to digitally connect with consumers, targeting sales and brand engagement during the summer season. In return, Pepsi customers can get three months of Apple Music for free.

„We look at everything we do from a cost-effectiveness and consumer-friendliness standpoint, and at the end of the day, the easiest way to connect our physical products to a digital experience is through a QR code,” Kaplan said. The brand spends a large amount of its marketing budget on QR code technology.

Pepsi joins brands such as Kim, Elysian Brewing and XFL by Kim Kardashian’s SKN, which use QR codes to drive consumers to visit physical stores or drive traffic to online platforms. The technology has been around for a while, but it gained traction among marketers during the pandemic. Since then, many brands have started using QR codes in their marketing and consumers are becoming more familiar with how they work.

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And QR codes aren’t just for traffic and engagement. According to Sharad Bothraju, CEO of QR code platform BeaconStock, raw data is one of the reasons why brands are finding value in this technology.

„Pepsi and Apple Music are not only creating a frictionless experience for customers to use the best service, but also creating a first-party data bank that can be leveraged for additional marketing efforts,” said Bodharaju. Number of smartphone users scanning QR codes on their devices continues to grow94 million users are doing so this year alone.

According to a report published by the analytics site QR Tiger, The number of scans performed on user-generated QR codes in 2022 increased by 433% over the previous year, totaling more than 6.8 million.

„QR codes are a great way to instantly connect consumers from physical to digital experiences, and now phones can help bridge the gap where QR codes can be recognized quickly and easily,” Kaplan said, adding that Pepsi has extensively tested its QR code feature. Starting in January to make sure consumers don’t run into technical issues during the summer campaign.

Through Pepsi’s partnership with Bad Bunny, the musician will use his social media presence on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to post organic content that encourages his followers to find special Pepsi bottles with QR codes. Financial terms of the agreement between the parties were not disclosed.

Pepsi will promote the campaign on Apple Music and Apple Podcasts, in both English and Spanish, throughout the summer, with the aim of reaching consumers on a daily basis. Additionally, the brand will leverage digital outdoor advertising, physical outdoor advertising, in-store advertising and its own social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Reddit to promote its QR codes.

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It’s unclear how much of Pepsi’s ad budget is going into the campaign, as Kaplan declined to share budget details. According to Kantar data, PepsiCo has spent $184 million on advertising efforts in 2022.

Other brands Focus on summer Their marketing efforts include Glow Sparkling Hydration, a caffeinated electrolyte hydration drink brand recently signed with Kylie Jenner, and Liquid IV promoting its OOH advertising.

„Consumers want truly meaningful freebies, so offering free summer music can only build emotional goodwill, so the activation is not only a positive association, but also a real benefit to the consumer,” says Stephen Seliotis, global director of brand insights. Marketing consultancy Gravity Global.

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