A can of Pepsi

Last week, AdAge reported that Pepsi will be launching their new social media campaign, “Live for Now” on May 2, and if successful it could drastically alter the way brands attack social media. Unlike traditional social media efforts (it’s odd to think that there are now “traditional” social media efforts), Live for Now is not hosted on other networks, such as Facebook or Twitter. It is instead Pepsi’s own, self-developed and independent platform.

Live for Now will essentially be a pop culture news aggregator, tracking the hottest topics from around the web and presenting them in a colorful and lively format. The news content hosted on the site can be shared with friends via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Pepsi will host “challenges” from celebrities in which they ask their fans to complete a task, and the beverage company has also partnered with a daily deals site to offer discounted concert tickets.

If this sounds like an interesting little side project to further engage consumers on social media, think again. The “result of intense consumer research carried out across a variety of markets over the past nine months,” as AdAge puts it, will be the centerpiece of Pepsi’s first ever global campaign. Live for Now will become Pepsi’s homepage, and will launch on Wednesday by “taking over” Yahoo.com as well.

Pepsi has stated that the reason for Live for Now is because the brand has always done well when it has been able to successfully connect itself to pop culture, but “there have been times in the last decade where we haven’t been in the right place in entertainment around the world, haven’t been at the forefront,” said Simon Lowden, CMO of PepsiCo. It is not unfair to assume that, with Live for Now, Pepsi wishes to become one of the top pop culture news aggregators on the web.

It will certainly be interesting to see how Live for Now plays out. Will consumers be OK with getting their news directly from a brand? Is the departure from normal online marketing, including replacing your homepage with a content site and investing heavily in celebrity integration, worth the ROI?

Many have theorized that the future of marketing is content.  With Live for Now, Pepsi has bought in, and the results, whatever they may be, will serve as a learning point for all brands to follow.

What do you think? Will Live for Now be a successful venture for Pepsi?


This post was first published by Jason Fidler on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense, and may be viewed here.