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Pepsi Next took over BuzzFeed.com April 19 to promote its “Try It to Believe It” sampling-driven campaign message by engaging viral content/social media lovers. The new cola has a branded bar on the top of each BuzzFeed page that urges: “See what’s next on the Web!,” accompanied by a “Next” button. The first two times users click the “Next” button, they’re taken to a randomly selected story from the Internet that has gone viral.
Every third button click takes them to a piece of original content created and sponsored by Pepsi Next. The sponsored content includes articles such as “10 Things You Haven’t Tried but Probably Should” -– one of the 10 things being Pepsi Next (“a cola with 60% less sugar than regular Pepsi that still tastes great…you’ve got to try it to believe it”). Another sponsored content offering features a demo video, starring actor/comedian Rob Riggle, for Pepsi Next’s Facebook-based “Internet taste test” contest. (In that contest, some entrants will be selected to be included in videos featuring FunnyorDie.com entertainers creating improvised impersonations of brand fans based on their Facebook profiles.)
While the bar/button and multi-story ad units are for one day only, Pepsi Next’s sponsored content pieces began appearing in BuzzFeed’s “branded content” format (sponsored stories are interspersed amid other “featured” content, but set off by a colored background and a “featured partner” posting ID), according to Jon Steinberg, president of BuzzFeed. Typically, a content sponsorship runs for about a month, during which time new content pieces are regularly posted, he says. Pepsi Next is the first BuzzFeed sponsor to use a top-of-page bar unit.