StarMedia, Pepsi Team to Reach Hispanic Teens

Hispanic-oriented portal player StarMedia Network becomes the latest to ally in the online cola wars Wednesday, as it joins with Pepsi-Cola to launch a co-branded community site aimed at Hispanic teenagers in Latin America.

Pepsi most recently linked up with Yahoo for a co-marketing deal, and Coca-Cola has allied itself with America Online. Both soft drink makers hope to gain a certain “hipness” from teaming with online players, and hope to use the new medium to reach a young soda-sipping audience. Meanwhile, the cola companies make great partners for Internet companies, which crave distribution on their millions of cans and bottles.

The latest effort by Pepsi and StarMedia is a site called Pidemasonline.com, which translates to “ask for more” online.com. The two companies hope to create a virtual teen community, where they can forge relationships with the first generation to grow up with the Internet. Pepsi will have its branding and logos on the site, and StarMedia will gain users for its chat, email, bulletin boards, instant messaging, MP3 player, games, e-cards and homepage building tools. Financial terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.

“Together with Pepsi, we have created a global virtual teen hang-out that reflects the diverse ideas of pan-cultural youth,” said Francisco Loureiro, chief operating officer of StarMedia Interactive Group.

“Pidemasonline.com empowers the enormous Internet generation with the tools and applications to create teen-generated content to express themselves.”

The site will initially be aimed at Puerto Rico, but it will be promoted in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela later this year. Pepsi will use offline marketing initiatives to draw users to the site.

Entitled “Pepsi Music, Expresate con todo” (“Express yourself with everything”), the TV, radio, outdoor, and print campaign will run for 10 weeks in Puerto Rico. In addition, more than 20 million Pepsi packages in Puerto Rico will be embossed with the site’s URL.

Pepsi is also sponsoring a promotion to allow teens to create thirty-second video clips, to be displayed and voted upon on the site. The company is also sending out video crews to shoot pictures of teens enjoying summer fun.

Another promotion, which will appear on packs of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Seven Up, and Sunkist 20oz. bottles, will involve prizes like cars, computers, and Internet access.

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