Pepsi adds twist to under-the-cap contest

In what's being touted as its first major online initiative, Pepsi-Cola Canada, in partnership with Yahoo! Canada, has added a new twist to the traditional 'under-the-cap' contest. ...

In what’s being touted as its first major online initiative, Pepsi-Cola Canada, in partnership with Yahoo! Canada, has added a new twist to the traditional ‘under-the-cap’ contest.

The ‘It’s a flippin’ cap contest,’ which debuted Jan. 1 and will run until April 30, is the first project to hit the streets as a result of a recent Pepsi Canada and Yahoo! Canada alliance. Pepsi teamed up with Yahoo! last year as part of the Internet media company’s ‘fusion marketing’ program, launched last August as a way of positioning Yahoo! as a valuable targeting tool.

The recent co-branded bottle-cap liner contest is the first step toward a larger, ongoing relationship, says Richard Burjaw, marketing director of carbonated soft drinks with Pepsi-Cola Canada.

‘We’ve used the Internet to promote and facilitate certain contests on our own, and what we found is that we really needed to partner with someone who has the right brand image and who has the expertise to help make it happen,’ he says. ‘A long-term relationship is key to that.’

Geared to tweens, teens and young adults, the ‘It’s a flippin’ cap contest’ challenges consumers to collect official game pieces found inside the caps of specially marked bottles of Pepsi soft drinks (including Pepsi, 7Up, Mountain Dew, Mug Root Beer and Dr. Pepper) and then register through Yahoo! Canada to win online. Participants can track their game pieces online, collecting enough pieces to complete required word combinations.

‘For years and years, soft drink manufacturers have used that mechanic of looking under the cap – we’ve just added a wrinkle to that. The medium provides information about the contest and the medium also facilitates the contest,’ says Burjaw.

While gathering data wasn’t the primary objective – the main goal, say the partners, was to drive sales by putting an exciting new spin on an old promotion – Burjaw says the contest will allow for the collection of personal data from contest registrants. Historically, Pepsi has captured information through offline promotions, most of which asked consumers to collect proofs of purchase and submit them by mail, along with a brief hard-copy questionnaire, according to Burjaw.

‘As we continue to work with Yahoo! Canada, we’ll understand what sort of information we have and how we would, if at all, use it,’ he says.

Jennifer Stewart, senior brand manager at Yahoo! Canada, says it’s likely the contest will give Pepsi customer data that they’ll be able to use to create more targeted marketing programs.

‘We’re seeing more and more traditional marketers come to us because they recognize that we’ve got the audience that they’re looking to try and reach, which is fundamentally what they do when they use television, or radio or print – it just makes for a more complete media program when Yahoo! is included in the mix.’

Of the total November 2000 audience for the Yahoo! Network (which includes, and all other international properties), 3% were 13 and under, 16% were aged 14 to 17 and 13% aged 18 to 20.

While the promotion is being geared to tweens, teens and young adults using ‘young-spirited’ point-of-sale material and online advertising, Burjaw says the companies are not excluding anyone from entering.