PepsiCo innovates in Europe

08 June 2011

LONDON: PepsiCo, the food and beverage giant, is seeking to identify ten European start-ups that can help enhance its new media capabilities.

As part of this process, called PepsiCo10, the owner of Tropicana and Quaker Oats has asked "emerging" companies to submit entries detailing their unique tools and services by mid-July.

The primary fields of interest include social networks, mobile marketing, location-based properties, digital video, gaming and "learning" platforms.

"PepsiCo10 will bring value to our business by ensuring that we are at the cutting edge of whatever digital and social media technology is out there," Peter Charles, a PepsiCo marketing manager, said.

"The technology we get could be anything from creating exciting shopping experiences to new ways for consumers to connect with our brands and talk about them with their friends."

Selected applicants will be assessed by PepsiCo, and around 40 should receive requests for video pitch presentations demonstrating their credentials.

Alongside a £10,000 prize, each of ten finalists ultimately chosen are then due to be tasked with conducting test programmes working on brands such as Tropicana and Walkers.

The media agency OMD, Weber Shandwick the PR specialist, digital title Mashable and the venture capital firm Highland Capital Partners will all help identify appropriate organisations for the incubator scheme.

One recent high-profile campaign run by PepsiCo in the UK was Walkers' "Do Us a Flavour", which crowdsourced an original variant of its popular crisps.

"Digital and social media innovation is incredibly important to us ... It's an increasingly important channel of communication for us and our brands," Ian Ellington, Walkers' general manager, said.

"There is a huge appetite amongst consumers for new and exciting social media technologies and for us as a business, digital is a dynamic and increasingly important area for innovation."

A major contributor behind the PepsiCo10 drive was the implementation of an equivalent initiative in the US last year.

This secured approximately 400 entries, yielding winners like video-sharing specialist Tongal, now participating in a project for Brisk Tea.

Mobile expert Evil Genius Designs has also produced a game featuring various brands, and Breakout Band, a social music game, represented Pepsi Max at the 2011 South by Southwest conference.

"PepsiCo10 and the success of the pilots that we've run have had large implications on how we think about transforming communications and marketing," Bonin Bough, PepsiCo's global director, digital and social media, said.

"It also gives our brand teams access to a new arsenal of tools, helping them remain at the cutting edge of creative consumer engagement."

"We're looking forward to finding the exact same type of transformational technologies in Europe that will lay down planks that again will have broader implications for the industry."

Data sourced from Mashable/PepsiCo; additional content by Warc staff