PepsiCo quenches thirst of many seeking SXSW news

PepsiCo has partnered with South By Southwest (SXSW) for the past three years, but in 2011 it sought to make an impact among digital influencers.

Client: PepsiCo (Purchase, NY)
PR agency: Weber Shandwick
Campaign: PepsiCo SXSW
Duration: February 2011 to present

PepsiCo has partnered with South By Southwest (SXSW) for the past three years, but in 2011 it sought to make an impact among digital influencers and the general public alike, all while highlighting PepsiCo as a brand at the center of digital innovation.

Dave Aglar, VP of digital communications at Weber Shandwick, notes, "It is important to be closely aligned with the best thinkers in the business and make sure we are part of that culture."

Strategy
PepsiCo understood many people outside of Austin, TX, wanted SXSW news, so it formed a partnership with Fast Company to program panels, create original content, and then stream all of that to PepsiCoblogs.com. This kept consumers updated and generated on- and offline buzz.

Tactics
Through research, the team determined what companies were likely be the biggest names at SXSW. It then invited them to participate in panels on the PepsiCo stage. In order to establish itself as an outlet and destination for key conference-related content, the company livestreamed panels and content from the PepsiCo stage and elsewhere at the conference.

"We sought to show how we can support up-and-coming digital trends," Aglar says.

Results
Media placements included Reuters and USA Today. And via establishing PepsiCoblogs.com as a media channel and streaming more than 65 pieces of content over five days, the website saw a tenfold increase in traffic from the previous month.

The company also engaged fans on all of its social channels, including Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, and Flickr. Additionally, through the course of SXSW, PepsiCo's Twitter interactions, which consisted of brand mentions and retweets, soared 1,000%.

"The fact we put together this unique way to deliver content for the first time was really important to us," says Jamie Stein, director of digital initiatives at PepsiCo. "The response was just amazing."

Future
SXSW-related coverage is still being housed at PepsiCoblogs.com. The team will likely continue its efforts in the future.

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