Heineken and Pepsi Up the Ante in Advertising Creativity

Pepsi Like MachineWith consumers increasingly adopting social media, smartphones, and the belief that content should be on demand, some of the biggest brands are starting to get very creative with how they reach people. Recently two of the biggest beverage companies (one alcoholic and one sweet) have shown that their marketing teams have what it takes to bridge great branding with social media and on-demand content while keeping the consumer entertained. Both Heineken and Pepsi impress this week with their new ads.

Heineken’s New Campaign

I’ll admit, Heineken has never been one to impress me with its marketing efforts. Granted, I don’t really pay much attention to them. Not having a TV gets in the way of seeing good advertising. Regardless, large beer companies like Budweiser are well known for having advertisements that went viral before people knew what going viral meant (think the Budweiser frogs, or the Wazzzzzup! commercials).

Today, Heineken caught my attention with its new DROPPED series on YouTube. As Todd Wasserman reports on Mashable, Dropped is “a new ad campaign/branded entertainment program” from Heineken. It’s relying on good content not to sell a product, but to provide entertainment and indirect branding to customers. YouTube is a great platform for that and Heineken certainly has the budget to create quality content.

It’s actually a rather gripping effort and makes the viewer want to continue watching. I have no doubt that this will start being shared around social media; YouTube makes it incredibly easy to do that. After all,  who doesn’t want to see what a young Spaniard who was as Jennifer Faull writes on The Drum “literally dropped into a remote Alaskan location with nothing but the most basic supplies” winds up discovering? I know I do.

Pepsi’s Social Advertising

On the other side of the beverage spectrum, Pepsi has done something I’m not quite sure anyone else has in quite the same way yet. Based on the premise that people like free stuff (who doesn’t?) Pepsi has taken the wonderful and old vending machine technology and combined it with the power of social media.

A few days ago Pepsi unveiled the Pepsi Like Machine and they have been promoting it on YouTube, social media, and traditional advertising platforms. Robin Wauters for The Next Web explains that the Like Machine is a vending machine “that doesn’t accept money but gives people a free can of soda in exchange for a Facebook like.” Now that’s a way to build your fan base on Facebook! If only every business could offer a free sample of their products from a vending machine.

Still, the idea is quite creative. The focus that Pepsi is placing on social media and their ability to integrate it into seemingly unrelated technologies is refreshing and good for their brand.

Not Selling a Product but Reaching Consumers

Both Heineken and Pepsi are demonstrating that they realize that sometimes it isn’t about selling a product, but that it’s about branding your company in a way that entertains and connects with consumers. Of course, not all businesses and agencies have the resources to drop someone off in Alaska and film it, but the ideas and the strategy behind what Heineken and Pepsi (with its social media vending machine) are doing is still valid.

Content that is creative and engages or entertains consumers is rewarded. That’s the beauty of consumers being more connected than ever through technology and social media. Good content spreads itself and ultimately does wonders for a brand and their business.

What inspiration can your business take from Heineken and Pepsi’s creative branding ploys?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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