Purveyors of low-cal or sugar-free foodstuffs have gotten a lot of mileage out of the “you won’t believe it’s diet” message. (For a recent example, see Diet Dr. Pepper’s “I Exist” support group. And for better or worse, we’ll always have I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.)
But in this day of artificial flavorings and sweeteners, is it really so hard to believe that a decent-tasting cola has 60 percent fewer calories?
Not really, says Pepsi. So to promote Pepsi Next, its newest diet drink (tagline: “Drink It to Believe It”), the beverage giant is teaming up with startup TaskRabbit to give away an amazing–yet still believable–prize.
That prize is an extra hour in the day, sort of. The “Extra Hour” contest supplies winners with one hour of free labor from TaskRabbit, a web platform that lets people pay strangers in their area to run errands like picking up their dry cleaning or walking their dog.
The campaign, which launched October 16, comes courtesy of digital agency the Barbarian Group. “We’re trying to do things that are unbelievable, but not really that unbelievable,” says cofounder and CEO Benjamin Palmer, of his agency’s work for Pepsi Next. “It not like making the Statue of Liberty disappear, more like, ‘I can have an extra hour in the day? You can take care of that for me?’ It’s like an accessible kind of unbelievable.”
An earlier Pepsi Next effort from Barbarian was called “Internet Taste Test.” Using a Facebook App, consumers could sign up to watch a Funny or Die actor impersonate them while tasting the soda.
For the “Extra Hour,” Pepsi will give away 50 tasks per week over the next four weeks. Prizes will be given away at random to users who sign up at TaskRabbit.com/PepsiNext.
The one truly amazing aspect of the campaign, says Palmer, is that a brand like Pepsi could team up with a not-yet-household name like TaskRabbit, particularly because it provides so little in terms of reach (TaskRabbit only operates in nine cities, one of which consumers much live in to enter the contest). But at a time when brands have strong followings of their own, the rules regarding marketing partnerships are changing somewhat, he says.
“Pepsi has its own built-in audience, so we can mobilize them a little and curate for them,” rather than relying on a marketing partner’s name recognition to build excitement, said Palmer.
He added: “We totally live in the future now.”
[Pepsi Can Image: Photoseeker via Shutterstock]