Pepsi?s new mobile platform capitalizes on millennials? music-streaming habits

PepsiCo is leveraging the excitement surrounding this weekend?s MTV Video Music Awards by introducing a new mobile-optimized music hub during the show, allowing millennials to enjoy tunes and discover up-and-coming artists through the Shazam-amplified platform.

This weekend, Pepsi is planning to kick off the launch of its new music hub, The Sound Drop, with appearances by popular artists such as Alessia Cara and Lukas Graham. The new platform, which also leverages partnerships with Shazam, MTV and iHeartMedia, lets emerging artists share their stories and art with fans through social media activations and influencer networks.

?Pepsi is taking a solid step forward to connect with millennial consumers through this mobile-optimized strategy,? said Ross Andrew, CEO of Maropost. ?First, it is effective as it caters to a rare, yet desired element that any brand wants to have a hold on ? exclusivity.

?Whether it?s Apple Music, Spotify or Tidal, there has been a rise in diverse channels for individuals to currently find music, and Pepsi?s approach figuratively throws its hat in that arena,? he said. ?Secondly, rolling out this strategy at the MTV Video Music Awards is another smart approach as that event serves as more or less ?The Grammys for the youth.?

?The social media and digital factors involved with The Sound Drop, such as involving the Shazam mobile app and leveraging influencer networks, show that Pepsi acknowledges and is willing to adapt to the unorthodox and on-the-fly approaches that this demographic discovers and enjoys music. It?s clear that Pepsi is making its goal distinct, and everything that factors into launching The Sound Drop will surely help its position with millennial consumers.?

Dropping beats on mobile
Pepsi?s The Sound Drop platform is making its official debut during this Sunday?s MTV Video Music Awards with appearances by Jidenna, Alessia Cara and Lukas Graham.

The Sound Drop aims to highlight the next generation?s up-and-coming artists and heighten awareness for them by promoting their music across iHeartMedia?s platforms.

Shazam will power additional amplification via artist introduction and discovery, while Viacom Velocity and MTV?s internal creative agency will help distribute content delineating each individual?s inspirational story.

Mobile plays a starring role in the platform, as The Sound Drop will leverage social influencer networks as well as visibility on social media to spread awareness of the featured artist. The mobile amplification seeks to bring users directly to Pepsi?s content, in turn driving the new music discovery process.

The Sound Drop will introduce a new artist with accompanying content approximately 10 times per year.

Several of this fall?s featured artists will also perform a show at Kola House in New York?s meatpacking district.

The Sound Drop will be accessible this Sunday at www.thesounddrop.com.

Monitoring social response
Pepsi has been engaging in a slew of social-first activations designed to help the brand connect with mobile-savvy consumers.

Pepsi recently announced it is the first to partner with Twitter for its promoted sticker launch as the next leg in the consumer packaged goods marketer's Pepsimoji campaign, which is populating the physical and digital realms with millennial-friendly symbols (see story).

Additionally, it is relaunching Crystal Pepsi to capitalize on the growing interest in 90s nostalgia and has recreated the iconic Oregon Trail game to up the ante on a campaign the marketer hopes will go viral (see story).

However, The Sound Drop has the potential to gain a slew of new millennial fans ? if Pepsi is willing to closely monitor social response and include more interactive elements to stoke conversations and personalize the listening experience.

?There will be significant noise around the hub, and Pepsi needs to put immense focus on responding and engaging to the comments that are being posted on social platforms,? said Tyler Carlson, vice president of sales at SiteZeus. ?The partnership with iHeartMedia is key to making this hub a success, as its distribution of relevant content is the saving grace.

?With the introduction of streaming apps, including Apple Music, Tidal and Spotify, the old-fashioned radio is holding on for dear life,? he said. ?Consumers want the ability to listen to what you want when you want, or to discover music that is personalized for you.

?The bottom line is that if Pepsi doesn?t make the effort to continuously engage with the social community, the mobile-optimized hub will not gain momentum. There is a big opportunity for Pepsi to include voting or a hashtag to encourage people to spread awareness about the brand and the product.?