While game show host Pat Sajak may have more wheel experience, Pepsi instead opted for actor William Levy in a wheel-themed campaign to drive awareness and trials of Pepsi Next in the product's second year of availability.
The promotion kicked off April 22 as Pepsi Next, which the brand says has Pepsi taste with 60% less sugar, debuted Wheel of Levy, a website which, as the name implies, showcases a spinnable wheel with various personalities, as well as a question mark and a can of Pepsi Next.
Levy embodies each of the personas on the wheel, including: a doctor, a romantic, an action hero, a rock star, a sci-fi character and a theater buff. The site also features brief videos of Levy playing each of these characters.
Users who land on the wheel's question mark find a shareable image of Levy, such as his romantic character, with the message, "I thirst for you. Love, William."
According to Pepsi, Levy is flexing his acting muscles to showcase six personas in "hot pursuit of one united goal": to get America to try a Pepsi Next for free.
Consumers who spin the wheel and pick a favorite persona can register to receive a two-liter bottle of Pepsi Next at the end of each video. However, the site notes there are limited coupons available per day.
Esperanza Teasdale, senior director of Pepsi Next and TM Pepsi Innovation, says Pepsi will give away 400,000 coupons and the campaign will run for about four to six weeks.
So far, Pepsi has given out "a couple hundred thousand" coupons and the site had "over one million hits/views" in its first day, she says.
The site is available in English and Spanish. Users can change the language in the top right-hand corner.
"Basically, what we've done is partner with Levy, a Latino heartthrob and wonderful guy, to leverage his power of acting to help seduce America to try Pepsi Next," Teasdale says, adding the personas enable Levy to "show the range of his acting capability and have some fun in a cheeky way to basically try to get people to try Pepsi Next for free."
Despite Levy's reputation as a heartthrob, Teasdale says the campaign targets both men and women in the 25-to-34 range because "obviously women love him, but I think guys wish they could be him."
What's more, Levy's appeal is broadening as he crosses over into the U.S. market, Teasdale says. Levy appeared in numerous Spanish language soap operas before he was a contestant on ABC's Dancing with the Stars in 2012.
"This is a great way to leverage where he is in his career to help drive awareness. He has a broad appeal we're excited about and he really does love Pepsi Next," Teasdale says.
She also says the brand is able to capitalize upon Levy's status as a Latino heartthrob to drive the campaign's seduction theme.
"Seduction is common in telenovela characters, so this is a fun approach to have same effect hopefully all across America," she says.
Pepsi is pushing the promo on Facebook to Pepsi Next's 148,000 fans and @PepsiNext's 8,600 followers.
Wheel of Levy videos also appear in a YouTube playlist. Views range from 11,000 to 146,000.
Digital agency the Barbarian Group created the activation.
In a Tumblr post, Barbarian says the campaign is supported by a TV spot and a paid digital and social buy on Buzzfeed, YouTube and E! online, as well as in-store promotions and TV appearances.
Barbarian also notes the campaign is Pepsi Next's largest Hispanic effort to date.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014