How Pepsi engages China’s youth

China’s youth is large and growing…
There are now 200 million Chinese born after 1980 and by 2015 there will be 300 million. (This is nearly half the size of Europe’s total population.)

…so any major company needs to understand this psychographic.
What they study, eat, drink and dream about will determine the future for many China-focussed companies.

China’s media to reach them is increasingly fragmented…
A friend of Harry’s in private equity recently said there were at least 250 new media companies that have funding to fight for PepsiCo’s ad dollars. China’s new media outlets now include the latest outdoor signage, elevator televisions, lobby ad techniques and even the space behind the toilet bowl (for that three-minute viewing experience). Someone recently pitch Harry use the space beside an airport so that people can see an ad as the aircraft lands.

…China’s young consumers are totally over-hyped…
Ads hit them everywhere, reducing impact and changing their behavior. The result is that Chinese consumers are among the most experimental least brand-loyal. They are always willing to try something new.

…and difficult to study.
The research data is insufficient and unclear, so what really matters is what you do with the research.

The post-1980s generation has highly accelerated expectations…
In their lifetime hundreds of millions of Chinese have been lifted out of poverty, so doing the same as in the past simply not enough. They seek autonomy, fame and richer experiences.

…are highly confident…
Harry sums up their attitude as: “I have talent and I will succeed.”

…and varied across China…
There are huge opportunities going West in China to the tier 2 and tier 3 youth. They have very different, distinct and unique optics on life and many marketing campaigns do not resonate with them

…but also faces unique downsides.
Single children from one-child parents, the post 1980’s generation faces tremendous loneliness and huge amount of pressure to perform socially, academically and professionally. This makes emptiness a great marketing insight. Harry would not speak about this insight very much since it will be key Pepsi’s 2008 strategy. (”Come back next year and I will talk about it.”)

Since Pepsi’s global strategy is to put the Consumer in control…
The overall move is from Brand centric to consumer centric; projective to engaging; static to customized experiences; episodic contact to each communication is a link to the next; one-way to viral and community enabling.

…in China they concentrate on the key passion points.
Music, sports and interactive.

Case Study 1: Create an ad
In 2006 Pepsi ran a competition for consumers to create a complete Pepsi Commercial, called “Show me your idea”.

200-word script
Popstar Jay Chow as main character
Users choose actors, script
Prize: $125,000
Advert broadcast on national TV.

A website encouraged heavy engagement on all aspects of campaign, including many pole positions to rank, rate, comment on all aspects.

The Winner:
A 28 year-old teacher from ZheJiang wrote the winning advertisement called “The Origin of Trading” that made Pepsi as the first commercial item.

The Stats:
28,000 scripts received
690,000 bulletin board posting
5 million online participation/votes

Case Study 2: Appear on a Can.

Turn the Pepsi can into a national media platform by putting the highest voted contestants picture on the can. “We wanted to create YouTube on a can.”

Winners, who could join from mobile, online and in person, get selected by consumer votes.
The winners began fighting to show “I have a talent” and many of them were actually celebrities, including radio hosts who spoke about wanting to get on the can, one member of the military who garnered 11,000 votes, pets, cats, dogs, guru and one of the coolest online gamers.

The Winners:
20 winners were put on the can.

The Stats:
3 million photos submitted
163 million votes
7.5 million bulletin board messages
Pepsi also managed to get many celebrity endorsements for free, since they wanted to appear on the can.

Sounds pretty familiar to me!!


What do you think….?


~ by digivine on November 20, 2007.

One Response to “How Pepsi engages China’s youth”

  1. Interesting – definitely have legs…

    So who are you – your blog gives nothing away which is not good dude/dudette…


    MediaSnackers Founder

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