Pepsi Taps Live Video To Reach Mountain Dew Die-Hards

ChristineNgoWhen “consumer immersion” is your top brand metric, live-streaming video enters your channel-investment strategy.

Such is the case for PepsiCo-owned Mountain Dew, one of the first brands to test-drive Twitter’s new live-video app, Periscope.

Mountain Dew created a three-minute video asking fans to stop by and say, “What’s up?” and to interact by sending the brand hearts, comments or asking questions. In turn, Mountain Dew shared brand swag with its most active viewers.

The appeal of Periscope for brands is the live broadcast. Apps like Meerkat and Periscope represent a complete about-face from static pre-roll video, where ads are linear and prepackaged. Mountain Dew isn’t eliminating standard video ad formats, since Pepsi upped its YouTube investment by 50% last year.

“We’re trying to create brand content that’s not just TV and video, but virtual reality,” Christine Ngo, brand manager for Mountain Dew, told AdExchanger. “With [live-streaming], people can see us in real time – sentiment and time spent are really powerful brand health metrics for us. Impressions are one thing, but if you can prove the time people spent with your content, we love it.” 

Mountain Dew is no stranger to experimenting with new types of video. Last year, Mountain Dew turned skateboarding on the Vegas strip into virtual reality with Oculus Rift and extended a Super Bowl pregame spot into a Snapchat Stories campaign.

“There’s an element of going into these new platforms and outlining your game plan and strategy, but you really have to be open to continuously optimizing,” said Ngo, who works closely with agency Vayner Media on many of the brand’s social and video activations. “We listen in real time and are sometimes optimizing within seconds – if something doesn’t feel right, we change it.”

While Mountain Dew forges a ton of brand integrations with popular athletes and sports stars, it’s constantly monitoring content and its impact on brand health. Parent company PepsiCo, for instance, was forced to pull a 60-second online video ad featuring rapper Tyler, The Creator in 2013 after notable backlash over the content.

Platforms like Periscope and Meerkat act as somewhat of a test lab to see what content works and what doesn’t before the brand invests hard ad dollars against these channels. For instance, while Mountain Dew has bought ads on Amazon-owned live-gaming platform Twitch, that was not always the case.

“When Justin.tv [Twitch’s previous name] came on the scene, it was still a little too early since consumers were just getting accustomed to social media, let alone live-streaming,” she said. “Mobile and better production quality from some of the platforms have changed that.”

The challenge for Mountain Dew is integrating natively into these platforms while maintaining the proper balance of brand outreach.

When millennials message friends on Snapchat and WhatsApp, they’re frequently using those platforms either in place of or as a complement to texting. “We need to strike the right balance of pushing the boundaries and engaging so that it doesn’t become invasive,” Ngo said.

Ngo compared live-streaming video to the multichannel video networks that arose out of YouTube. Social platforms like Facebook and Pinterest, similarly, grew organic reach before carving out new monetization opportunities with paid ad products.

“If Periscope grows and consumers adopt it, there will almost certainly be an ad ecosystem that benefits from it, much like how YouTube has all of these influencer networks around it not directly affiliated with YouTube,” she said. “I refuse to believe that any platform is going to stay organic forever because they need to be able to grow.”

 

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