Pepsi and Coca-Cola go mobile, this festive season

Both Coke and Pepsi are using mobile-centric engagement tactics in the US this festival season.

Pepsi has launched a campaign called ‘Gift it Forward with Pepsi’ where the brand is literally giving away cash! 12-pack sets of multiple Pepsi products (including Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Zero Sugar, Wild Cherry Pepsi and Pepsi Vanilla among others) come with a QR code that, when scanned, reveals a digital scratch card. When you scratch it, you may find a Pepsi Globe logo. If you get 3 such logos, you stand to win a cash prize ranging from $5 to $25,000 that can then be instantly gifted to a friend or a charity (including Pepsi’s official charity partner, United Way)!

And yes, I did wonder about it too – winners can keep the cash for themselves too; that’s option 3 🙂

This is a simple scratch card that has gone mobile-only. But tying it to the gifting season is an interesting twist, instead of making it simply about winning.

Coke’s mobile-first idea is a lot less interesting, in comparison: by scanning specially marked cans and bottles with the Coca-Cola mobile app, smartphone users can see an augmented-reality of polar bear experiences, including a sledding scene inspired by Coke’s 2013 holiday ad, snowball fights and a holiday light show.

Coke’s idea is based on engagement and is mean for the buyer alone, though you could expect people to share it with friends if the AR animation/experience is interesting enough. It looks fairly standard, from this video, though.

This AR activation by Coca-Cola is a follow-up to their earlier attempt in Mexico that had slightly more spunk and attitude. This new attempt is the largest and most widely advertised, by the company, though.

But Pepsi, despite merely transplanting an old-world scratch-card through a mobile interface, has a better idea, in my view, because of how it has been positioned. Pepsi could have simply called it, ‘Win cash this festive season’. And that is definitely one option if you get 3 globes. But the ‘pass it forward’ framing of this campaign makes it specifically more interesting. Christmas is known for the gifting, and bringing cash gifts, however small they are, back into focus, is a nice twist.