Pepsi Links Up with Yahoo! for $1B Giveaway

PepsiCo and Yahoo have linked up for the beverage giant’s summer promotional push that will give one consumer the chance to win a billion dollars.

Purchase, N.Y.-based Pepsi is expected to spend up to $100 million on the summer-long promotion. Yahoo will host and maintain the sweepstakes site that registers users to be one of 1,000 contestants for the “Pepsi Play for a Billion” finale, a game show to be broadcast in September on AOL Time Warner’s network, The WB.

The contestants will be chosen through entries Pepsi receives at the Yahoo-designed and hosted microsite and through the mail. At the “Pepsi Play for a Billion” site, www.billionsweeps.com, consumers can enter the contest by providing a variety of information, including address, phone number and email address, along with a code from a Pepsi product.

Some of that information, such as name and email address, will be pre-populated if the contestant is one of Yahoo’s more than 100 million registered users. If not, contestants must register with Yahoo in order to enter the contest online. The site allows contestants to opt-in for contest updates and news from Pepsi. Yahoo will maintain the database for Pepsi.

Mark Papia, a group director at Yahoo and point man on its Pepsi account, said the offline-online contest would address Pepsi’s three main goals: pushing higher sales volume; improving marketing return on investment; and building a closer relationship with customers through interactivity.

“Pepsi has been a leader in introducing online to its marketing mix,” he said.

Yahoo and Pepsi first linked up in 1999, running two other under-the-cap campaigns as part of its Pepsi Stuff promotion. Since then, Yahoo has run a variety of promotions for the beverage company, including two Super Bowl promotions that allowed users to vote for their favorite Pepsi product commercials. This year, the company let viewers choose which Sierra Mist commercial it would show during the Super Bowl and ran previews of the Pepsi Twist ad starring the Osbournes.

The Pepsi promotion is an integrated campaign, in which the online component complements a variety of offline initiatives. In addition to in-store advertisements, Pepsi will run television commercials hyping the contest. There will also be Mountain Dew tie-ins with Universal Pictures’ anticipated summer blockbuster “The Hulk.”

The WB, in addition to broadcasting the contest show, will air “Pepsi Smash,” a six-week promotional show running in July. The one-hour program will feature musical performances, along with behind-the-scenes footage.

In addition, Pepsi will run ads on AOL and Yahoo. All advertising, both online and offline, will encourage consumers to visit the billionsweeps.com site.

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