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OMD bridges the virtual with digital for Pepsi via Tmall.com

Pepsi Tmall.com in China

The established platform of e-commerce portal Tmall in China and Pepsi’s aggressive marketing has once again brought the two companies together in an attempt to try something innovative on the back of digital platforms. Pepsi has undertaken several measures in China to keep up with the rapidly changing consumers, across various platforms. Digital media has been a significant portion of the play given the ground various digital platforms have gained in China. One of the steps in this direction was Pepsitmall.com – a co-created destination by the two brands. Pepsi had created the platform, along with agency partner OMD in 2012. The work is expected to contend at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2013.

A quick look at the concept and its results:

Insights, Strategy and Ideas
Even though Pepsi is a prominent beverage brand in China, category clutter needed an innovative new angle to increase consumption amongst young Chinese adults. And the innovation had to be beyond the bottle. The idea drove growth by embedding Pepsi in youth culture in China. Chinese youth culture was all about success, seeking a self-identity and creating a better future. Today, most young Chinese youth live a dual life, a ‘real’ life and a digital ‘virtual’ life. Time spent digitally often exceeds real life via online video, social networks and especially ecommerce. Pepsi’s strategy was to develop the largest-ever brand cross-over platform compromising of the top 50 youth brands to fulfil all their virtual shopping, dining, entertainment needs and creative outbursts in a single place.

Media Action and Creative idea
The ultimate goal for Pepsi was to engage with China’s youth culture beyond the bottle of Pepsi. So Pepsi chose to partner with Tmall.com, China’s largest ecommerce portal, to build PepsiTmall.com – The Ultimate Youth Destination. For the first time ever in China, Pepsi bridged virtual and real worlds in one innovative platform. People joined this digital ecosystem by entering a code inside Pepsi bottle caps. The virtual ecosystem built a community of Pepsi consumers who got more of the Pepsi brand and experiences. Partner brands reached more young adults and Pepsi was seen to be offering huge added value to consumers. PepsiTmall.com became a true ‘must see’ event and a social media phenomenon. Pepsi utilised highly unconventional methods to launch this initiative through branded content and partnerships with top Chinese directors, syndicated through a top youth website and a takeover of a peak TV show which combined real and virtual worlds.

Pepsi China managed to build the largest youth culture ecosystem ever in China, creating cross brand initiatives which would have been a ‘mission impossible’ a year ago. Sign up rate crossed 30 million, each of whom represented one bottle sold as the bottle cap code was needed to access PepsiTmall.com. Based on an average of USD 10 per redemption per consumer, the value of the offers taken up equated to USD 1.45 million. Daily unique visitors peaked at 1 million as PepsiTmall.com consistently topped natural search on search sites in China.