Pepsi Challenge: Consumers Hack Their Promotions

    January 25, 2005

One of the most interesting developments in the golden era of transparency is that consumers are sharing all kinds of information to hack/circumvent traditional promotions such as coupons, contests and giveaways.

Consider Apple/Pepsi’s music promotion, which re-launches this week. The two companies are again teaming up to give away an iPod every hour and free song under the bottle caps of every one out of three sodas sold.

Much like last year however, the consumers have again cracked the code making it easy for everyone to consistently win free songs. You would have thought that Apple/Pepsi would have learned from what happened last year and changed the packaging…but they didn’t.

Maybe now that blogs are much bigger this year than they were in 2004 they will learn this time the hard way.

On the other hand, perhaps this is what they intended to do to generate more buzz. Hmmm….

Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.