Shelf-to-Media marketing is the strategy for 2016: Vipul Prakash, VP, PepsiCo India

The beverages brands value experiential marketing for numerous aspects. For starters, the technique is a marketer’s playground. With the changing focus from product to experiences, the multi-national conglomerate, PepsiCo is continuing the legacy of innovation and positive disruption. Vipul Prakash, Vice President, Beverage Category, PepsiCo India shares his views in an exclusive conversation.


Prakash says, “PepsiCo always has exciting campaigns across its beverages portfolio. Pepsi planned to put packaging front and centre of all campaign this summer - Pepsi Mini cans and Pepsimojis. This was a part of Pepsi’s Shelf to Media approach and is based on strong innovations in packaging that make our products stand out on the retail shelves. Pepsi believes consumer has a maximum interaction with a product pack, so why not start from there?”

Sharing more about some of the experiential campaigns that worked best for the brand, Prakash states, “PepsiMojis brought to life the universal language of emojis beyond the digital world into the physical world. Emojis have always been expressions of moods and emotions, now Pepsi can be used to express what you are feeling. At INR 15 for a 150-ml, the Pepsi Mini Can (a new pack launch at 150ml) is a perfect bite sized packaging that has aspirational value and comes at an attractive price. He adds, “In India, consumers had access to 38 PepsiMoji designs, including eight designs that reflected the unique nature of India and the Indian consumer - from the traditionally turbaned man, the quintessential lunch dabba and popular snacks like dosas and samosas, to musical instrument Tabla and celebrities like Virat Kohli and Ranbir Kapoor. The conversation starters and socially sharable PepsiMoji designs can be found across the Pepsi product portfolio, including Pepsi and Diet Pepsi.”

Beyond packaging, the brand also created an entire PepsiMoji ecosystem, with an exciting, fully integrated ‘Jaisa Mood, Waisi Pepsi’ marketing campaign that supported its India launch. The PepsiMoji campaign debuted on pitch mat and perimeter boards of the ICC World Twenty20, with a PepsiMoji fan-army driving excitement around the games. “The PepsiMoji campaign also had a strong 360 amplification that included engaging digital, visually striking outdoors and immersive retail. As an extension of the campaign, Pepsi also brought alive the campaign in Delhi University via a “mood-vending” machine where students were able to get a Pepsi matching their mood just by performing a matching task given by the machine,” says Prakash.

Pepsi has always focused on connecting with consumers in contextually relevant ways, engaging them with iconic campaigns that not just spark conversations, but also drive consumption throughout grueling summer months. Sharing more on the experiential strategies for one of their brands, 7UP, Prakash adds, “7UP Revive is a new innovation that strengthens the hydration portfolio at PepsiCo. It is India’s first ever Hydrotonic drink and true to its name, 7UP Revive has vitamins and electrolytes that help consumers rehydrate and refresh after being out and about and active.” He adds, “Launched as test markets in Kerala and Tamil Nadu last year, 7UP Revive was available in distinctive blue glass bottles with its PET variants featuring a full length wraparound plastic sleeve. The brand introduced the signature blue tinted glass bottles for the first time to connote the refreshing taste and proposition of hydration given that this is the first Hydrotonic beverage. The full sleeved wraparound PET has been designed to communicate the key benefits of the product up front.”

Mountain Dew is another brand of PepsiCo that has always been at the moment of choice for the youth to fuel their risk-taking ability and boost their confidence to help them emerge victorious. Prakash says, “Last season, the brand launched the Real Heroes campaign that was received with an overwhelming response from consumers. As an extension of this campaign, Mountain Dew began 2016 with the launch of a new range of eye-catching, special edition neon PET bottles to celebrate the inspiring stories of Padma Shri Awardees, Arunima Sinha and Shital Mahajan, Lt. Col Satyendra Verma, Ghost Ryderz. Part of the story about the four real heroes began on the label, provoking curiosity. Any consumer wanting to know more was led to a branded video, to be watched when and where he chooses. TV reach is minimal, but our bottles are everywhere. This route, thus ensures massive reach.”

Mountain Dew also tied up with Blippar, world's largest visual browser to expand the reach of the campaign. The Mountain Dew bottle (the product itself) became the new media for consumers as it augmented the stories of the heroes and their experiences, giving an immersive experience to the consumer. “PepsiCo India also launched ‘Mountain Dew Game Fuel in India’, an exciting new and bold variant with The Dew Arena,” says Mr Prakash. The Dew Arena has been India’s largest ever gaming championship that aims to engage participants during the entire campaign for a thrilling gaming experience by switching the ‘Hero Mode On’”. “Beginning as a unique 9 week gaming championship that gave the best gamers in India a chance to have their profile on the Mountain Dew Game Fuel bottle, in addition to the prize pool worth INR 10 Lakhs, Game Fuel has been reaching out to gaming enthusiasts physically in the form of a massive, 50-city gaming truck activation. The culmination of these events will result in the Dew Arena finale among the best gamers’ of the country. Mountain Dew Game Fuel is also giving consumers an opportunity to win an ‘Xbox One’ every day”, adds Prakash.

On a concluding note, it is true that today’s consumers want to interact with the brand and experiential marketing is that tool which gives the customers a chance to see what your brand is truly about.

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