June 10, 2010


Pepsi seem to be betting their marketing dollars on socially conscious marketing. Now their (and related brands) barcodes are being used to unlock karma-positive initiatives. It all began late last year when Pepsi decided to switch their budget from huge traditional campaigns, starting by dropping costly ads during the Superbowl for a social media campaign that offered to give people grants for ideas that Refresh the Planet. It was all about Power to the People (that drink Pepsi – hopefully).

Now (as reported on POPSOPPepsiCo is “exploring a new initiative to communicate with consumers through its products. PepsiCo will share custom content on the social impact of PepsiCo products which will be accessible by scanning a bar code with a “bar code” reader smartphone application. By exploring how a Universal Product has the potential to be a “Universal Purpose Code,” PepsiCo believes there is an opportunity to deliver consumers the information that matters to them, while creating a two-way dialogue between PepsiCo and consumers”.

The idea is being piloted during Internet Week and is powered by Stickybits, a start-up technology that brings digital content to real-world objects through barcode scanning. POPSAP go on to say that “this collaboration marks the first-ever branded page experience or “official bits” for Stickybits. To advance this technology, PepsiCo is assembling a council of leaders in social responsibility and social media—led by digital influencer Gary Vaynerchuk—to explore the potential of the Universal Purpose Code concept”.

How many brands will be jumping on the karma bandwagon and will consumers care? Brands need the goodwill of customers and this is certainly one way to make it happen.

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