March 21, 2000 9:00 PM PST

Yahoo, Pepsi prepare co-marketing push

Yahoo and Pepsico tomorrow will take the lid off a new co-branded marketing blitz.

The program, call PepsiStuff.com, will allow consumers to earn points printed under the caps of Pepsi and Mountain Dew for discounts on online purchases.

Online-offline marketing campaigns are becoming more popular as traditional companies look for ways to gain a presence on the Web. Although Yahoo and Pepsi are not the first to dream up such a plan, the digital awards system does seem to be a novel approach, said Michele Slack, advertising analyst for New York-based Jupiter Communications.

"Usually in these deals, the site receives increased traffic and the offline company gets exposure of its brand," Slack said. "Pepsi's promotion is less about branding than driving direct sales. I haven't seen all that much of this kind of program. It's an unusual twist."

In January, for example, Minute Maid's Hi-C launched a promotional package with children's site MaMaMedia, but the program didn't offer an incentive to buy the drink.

Just last week, America Online and retailer Sears, Roebuck announced a marketing alliance in which AOL would develop a version of its software for Sears customers.

Yahoo's promotion plan grew out of the portal's program called "fusion marketing," which provides brick-and-mortar companies a way to secure an online presence, Yahoo executives said.

"Yahoo is hugely popular among teens and young adults--Pepsi's primary target," Dawn Hudson, chief marketing officer of Pepsico North America, said in a statement. "Without offline capabilities and their online reach, we're only scratching the surface of what may evolve in collaboration with Yahoo."

The five-month promotion, Dot-commercialsscheduled to launch in August, will appear under the caps of about 1.5 billion 20-ounce and one-liter bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi One, Mountain Dew, Diet Mountain Dew and Wild Cherry Pepsi.

The points can be redeemed online for prizes and discounts from leading retailers, including Sony, Electronic Arts, Yahoo Shopping, Sam Goody, Foot Locker and Kinko's.

The soda bottles will have a "powered by Yahoo" logo emblazoned on the front label. Yahoo also will have its logo placed in about 50,000 U.S. retail stores that sell the Pepsi product.

 

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