Case Study: Pepsi China Leverages Web Video for CNY Campaign

Storytelling that strikes an emotional chord with consumers play an important role to drive a Lunar New Year brand campaign viral in China.

This year, Pepsi China advocates a social movement through its Bring Happiness Home campaign with a simple message inspiring consumers to show their love to everyone, not just their families but colleagues and strangers as well.

Viewership for Pepsi’s integrated campaign attracted close to 870 million across its mini-movie, music video, and TV commercials as of early February.

This figure surpassed the 700 million views from the previous year.

Its social marketing efforts using China’s microblogging sites Sina and Tencent weibo were well received.

For example, a single branded weibo post from Pepsi that encouraged consumers to express their love for one another generated 150, 000 retweets.

This is a new record in Sina Weibo’s history, according to DDB China Group and BBDO China, the agencies in charge of developing the campaign.

“From a brand perspective, with a campaign where four different brands are integrated, the challenge is to bring out their individual brand equities, while still ensuring everything ties in together,” said Alvina Seah, group account director from BBDO China.

The four Pepsico brands include Pepsi, Lay’s, Tropicana, and Mirinda, which is supported by a multi-dimensional media approach that spans across digital leveraging China’s top video portal, Youku, its search engine, Weibo, WeChat, as well as TV, outdoor, in-store, and packaging.

Execution: Finding a clever way to communicate across media platforms

Pepsi’s 30-minute web movie served as the core of its online communication that premiered on Youku and Tudou, including a Beijing theatre packed with Pepsi celebrities such as Louis Koo, Xie Na, and Yang Mi.

The story centered on a bus full of strangers heading home to celebrate Chinese New Year with their families. However, a heavy snowstorm stranded their bus in the mountains. As the passengers seek shelter in an abandoned cabin, they overcome their differences through faith, trust, and love to help one another out of the blizzard.

Coincidentally, the script became reality as the team encountered the biggest snowstorm in China’s 50-year history, which affected its shooting schedule.

“This series of events in turn spurred the team to tell this real life story juxtaposed against our reel life story, resulting in a heart warming music viral video,” Seah explained.

Indeed, its music video that featured famous celebrities went viral with 315 million views.

TV ads for the four different Pepsi brands (Pepsi, Lay’s, Tropicana, and Mirinda) were broadcast to encourage consumers to log on Soku, Youku’s video search engine, to watch the mini movie.

Once viewers search the brand term or keywords 把乐带回家 (Bring Happiness Home) or 百事可乐 (Pepsi Co) on Soku, its SERP will deliver the mini movie and all campaign-related videos.

Its O2O (offline to online) strategy focused on QR codes in print, outdoor, and product packaging to drive people back to its web movie.

In addition to its massive viewership and viral on social media platforms, Pepsi’s success was measured through earned media generated from news reports across digital, print, and on national TV, CCTV.

Pepsi also demonstrated that it practiced what it preached by cooperating with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation and China’s Women’s Development Foundation to show its care and help those in need.

Its CSR (consumer social responsibility) efforts were recognized by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs as the Social Workers Association presented the company with a “Public Charity Innovation Award” at the company’s launch ceremony.

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