Wednesday, October 29, 2008

PR Idea of the Week

Have you heard about the new Pepsi logo? What a case study in social media and branding.

Pepsi launched their new logo by sending the new look first to a select group of only 25 bloggers (my package must have gotten lost in the mail). Oddly, they sent three packages in twenty minute increments. The first two boxes included empty cans with old logos, the third box was branded with the new logo and contained six full cans (the contents are still the same).

Besides counting on the bloggers to post about these packages, the online component to the launch included a spot on FriendFeed.

Did it work? Well, my last Google of "Pepsi new logo" generated 287,000 hits. Of course, the Web is abuzz with branding experts and other critics who aren't sure this is the right move.

But I am fascinated with the method they chose, mixing courier deliveries with blogging. I have to think they accomplished exactly what they set out to do. The select bloggers felt special. Others jumped in to share the news and offer commentary. The fact that not all these marketing experts and branding gurus liked the logo is irrelevant. Pepsi wanted to create online buzz and anticipation of their new launch--which actually rolls out in 2009.

I think it's important for PR people to note that not a single part of this strategy involved trying to get on the front page of USA Today. I think it's a lesson for all of us in how important connecting with influencers--whether online or offline--is becoming just as important, or maybe more important than connecting with media.

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