With the upcoming Memorial Day weekend serving as the unofficial start of summer, Pepsi is turning to Instagram to help sell its soft drinks to quench the thirst of beachgoers and BBQers.
This week, Pepsi kicked off its #Summergram (yes, with the hashtag symbol) campaign with launch events in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami, with each event featuring a different six-story tall inflatable in nearby bodies of water. New York earned the extra privilege of appearances by model Chrissy Teigen and DJ Khaled for its event.
For the rest of the US, the labels of more than 200 single-serving bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Pepsi Zero Sugar will feature QR codes that consumers can scan with their smartphones to summon special augmented reality filters via Instagram for iOS and Android.
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The company claims that customers will be able to unlock hundreds of AR camera effects, each paying tribute to some aspect of summertime, such as hiking, swimming, or other activities specific to the user's local region. The AR experiences come with pithy platitudes, such as "Whatever floats your boat" and "Always pool ready," or punny proclamations, including "Don't worry beach happy" and "Tropic like it's hot," in English or Spanish.
"We are so excited to work with Instagram and bring some of their newest technology directly to our most loyal consumers. We know our fans love sharing their favorite moments on social media, and the summertime lends itself to so many post-worthy moments and occasions," said Todd Kaplan, vice president of marketing at Pepsi, in a statement. "The breadth of our Pepsi #Summergram statements and custom AR filters will ensure that there is something for everyone – no matter what you're doing this summer – to help people unapologetically enjoy their best summer moments."
Pepsi will push the promotion with 25 television commercials highlighting the AR experiences, a nationwide billboard campaign, and a social media assault as further reminders that the soft drink maker is all up in your Instagram.
Securing Pepsi as an advertising partner is a big coup for Facebook as it competes with Snapchat. The campaign's timing is also convenient for Facebook, as Instagram support for its Spark AR platform will graduate from closed beta this summer and enable all developers to create for it via the Spark AR Studio tool.
Then again, just as Facebook expands its AR platform, Snapchat is deploying its own set of special features, such as Landmark AR and Scan, ensuring that the AR war of escalation between the social media competitors will continue.