Content brand of the week: Pepsi, the brand fighting the cola war with content

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 11.55.55

Ah, you must mean the noted diarist, social commentator and general ‘lad about London’, Samuel Peepsi?

I think you’re confusing Samuel Pepys with the American fizzy pop manufacturer. Have a guess at which one was better at content marketing.

Well Pepys did write a lot of relevant shareable, content.

Yeah but pop-icon Britney Spears was the face of Pepsi for more than four years. Can Samuel Pepys say the same?

No, but his account of the great fire of London is deemed to be one of the leading historical sources on the event.

That’s not really the same is it? Pepsi, is the world’s second biggest drinks manufacturer and the world’s biggest snack-maker.

Only second biggest?

Disappointing, right? Especially given the number one spot is occupied by the same brand that Pepsi has been locked in battle with ever since the early ‘80s.

Panda pops?


Um Bongo?

Coca Cola!

Oh yeah, them.

The ‘cola wars’, which have been raging for a full three decades now, have seen some of the most innovative advertising and marketing initiatives pitched in direct opposition to one another – and, according to some sceptics, cancelling one another out. When you throw in the heavy competition from Red Bull in more recent times it’s pretty clear that not only is the drinks market extremely lucrative, it’s also super competitive – with seemingly every brand trying to grow its share in ever more innovative ways.

Poor old Um Bongo never stood a chance.

Maybe if it had a sound content marketing strategy it could have. Coca Cola’s commitment to content marketing has been well publicised, with this video in particular doing the rounds on CM blogs for the past couple of years. The brand’s commitment to doubling its business using content by 2020 is exactly the kind of bold content mission that warms our hearts.

I thought we were talking about Pepsi?

Oh, but we are. You see the two beverage behemoths never let one gain ground on the other, so Pepsi has hit back with its own content-rich site that beautifully blends brand and consumer-generated content. Especially impressive is the way the site responds to the user’s location and shows content accordingly. Here in London we get stories about the top new acts currently ‘coming up’ in the city, but readers in other countries will see entirely different stories.

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 18.45.56

So Pepsi is paying for content producers in different regions to ensure relevance?

Looks like it. The writing is good quality too – something that we can’t always say about articles and blog posts used for CM purposes! The articles also have visible author by-lines so readers can easily find out who wrote a piece, which makes reading the site feel more like an independent editorial experience.

You mentioned Pepsi makes use of user-generated content too?

It does, mainly on its website by reposting images and messages posted by fans on Instagram and Twitter, but also in more unexpected ways. Pepsi is actually deploying user-generated Vine videos as part of its outdoor advertising campaigns, mixing digital and traditional channels in an industry-leading move.

And is all Pepsi’s content about music?

Nope. The topics Pepsi is covering range from music, to art, to sports and whatever category this video of a real human man running through a loop-the-loop in an empty warehouse falls into.

I would categorise that as ‘General Gnarliness’, in the Red Bull vein.

Works for me! Of course, it’s hard not to draw comparisons with Red Bull on videos like that – the ‘gives you wings’ caffeine drink has staked a pretty convincing claim to all things extreme lately, culminating in the now-legendary space jump. Instead of go whole-heartedly after that particular segment, which it might never authentically own, Pepsi is shooting for a wider appeal (hence the broader array of topics covered). With the FIFA World Cup Finals later this year in Rio there’s already a rising tide of soccer-related pics videos and articles being pushed out through the Pepsi content hub, as well as its social accounts.

Pepsi has done football-related stuff before right?

Yes, with varied success it has to be said, who could forget this ropey World Cup 2014 advert?

Check out the acting chops on Drogba!

Where next?
Think you know a great content brand? Submit here!
More from Tom Owen
Previous CBOTWs
See our work

Author: Tom Owen

A strategic storyteller and compelling content creator, awash with acuity and adept at alliteration. I work for Speak Media.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s