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Pepsi rolls out multifaceted LBS mobile loyalty initiatives

May 3, 2010

PepsiCo ups the ante on mobile loyalty programs by adding location and social networking to the mix

PepsiCo ups the ante on mobile loyalty programs by adding location and social networking to the mix

PepsiCo Inc. has debuted application-centered mobile initiatives to help its restaurant partners inspire customer loyalty and drive consumers to nearby locations.

PepsiCo is working on two separate initiatives. There is an exclusive partnership with location-based mobile social networking application Foursquare and the launch of its own Pepsi Loot location-based application for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch.

“Pepsi Loot is what we hope is going to be the first geo-based iPhone application that has a loyalty program associated with it,” said Margery Schelling, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Foodservice, Purchase, NY. “Consumers on-the-go always have mobile devices with them, and when they are hungry, they can open Pepsi Loot on their iPhone and it shows them every Pepsi location in a certain area.

“The app tells them what type of food each restaurant serves, and they can share details on Twitter and Facebook,” she said. “App users can earn loyalty points by walking in and hitting ‘check in,’ and it’s geotargeted, so the app recognizes that they’re in the specific location and you earn loyalty points.

“The Loot mobile loyalty program is available to every restaurant customer in the U.S. that pours Pepsi products—more than 200,000 locations across the country.”

Earlier this year, Pepsi launched the Pepsi Refresh Project in an effort to refresh consumers’ perception of the brand, and this application is an extension of that initiative.

Gimme the Loot
In May, the brand will debut Pepsi Loot, a customized geolocation-based iPhone application, which was reated to drive deep, localized engagement with Pepsi’s consumers and customers.

The free-to-consumers Pepsi Loot application lets users connect, engage with the brand and earn rewards while consuming PepsiCo products at a number of partner foodservice locations nationwide.

This is one of numerous moves where the PepsiCo beverage division is incorporating geo-engagement into their communication and marketing efforts.

Applications such as Pepsi Loot provide the opportunity to transform customer loyalty and offer customized opportunities for food service partners.    

Pepsi Loot rewards users for visiting one of the 200,000-plus restaurants that serve Pepsi beverages.
Called “Pop Spots,” these include Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Arby’s, Panda Express, IHOP, Donato’s, Popeye’s, Taco John’s, Original Soupman, Bojangles, Round Table Pizza, Culver’s and Dairy Queen. 

The application features a user interface that includes a map of nearby Pop Spots, check-in prompts to earn “Loot” when on location and introductions to Pop Spots’ Twitter and Facebook pages.

Pepsi Loot claims to be the first geo-based application to offer users rewards. Users that visit three Pop Spots receive a free digital song download.

Consumers can redeem their Loot reward in the form of free exclusive tracks from artists such as the Neon Trees or choose from 250,000-plus songs from Universal Music Group’s catalog of artists such as U2, the Black Eyed Peas and Rihanna.

In addition, users can get exclusive content such as behind-the-scenes personal videos from Pepsi Loot-featured artists, including Keane, Katherine McPhee and Jamie Cullum.

This content will also be available on the Pepsi Loot YouTube channel.

The QSR partners will also offer exclusive Pepsi Loot discount coupons, for example, “Free Pepsi with purchase of an entrée.”

The application will be available as a free download from the iTunes App store in mid-May.

“Restaurants can target consumers and send out specific offers to encourage people to come to their location—mobile offers are a great way to drive traffic to specific locations,” Ms. Schelling said.

“Pepsi Loot offers a new level of brand engagement for us and helps us connect our restaurants and our customers on the go, because purchase decisions happen on the go and Pepsi wants to be a part of that,” she said.

To get the word out about the application, Pepsi is sending out email blasts, running digital advertising, including mobile portal ads and mobile ad network buys, as well as distributing in-store collateral.

“We’re running a huge POS program with signage saying ‘This is the Pepsi Loot application, this is a Loot hot spot—Eat, Drink, Get Loot—Pepsi Loot,’” Ms. Schelling said.

“We’re communicating directly with consumers and our restaurant customers via social media and, and we have a broad-scale sales force encouraging our retail partners to develop offers for the iPhone app,” she said.

“The neat thing about offers in a mobile environment, it’s not a one-off shot, it’s a continuous learning program.”

Here is an example of Pepsi Loot in-store collateral:

Pepsi can help its restaurant customers refine their offers to optimize effectiveness.

“We can target the offers by channel, by cuisine, by the day of the week and the time of day,” Ms. Shelling said. “For example, a lot of customers see lull time between 2 and 4 in the afternoon, so we can send out offers that are specific to that time frame to drive traffic.

“The ability for consumers to opt in and link to friends in their social network to communicate where they’re going to dine that day and they’re experience at that location brings social connectivity to the equation,” she said.

Foursquare integration
PepsiCo is the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage partner of Foursquare.

The partnership will spread location-based communications across the company’s portfolio of beverage brands.

These customized programs, as well as a series of retailer-specific experiments, are slated to begin in June with a variety of offers, tips and badges.

“We believe very strongly in the power of location-based services to drive local retail sales and transform the loyalty equation with our consumers, we will continue on the path of transforming consumer engagement,” said Bonin Bough, director of social and emerging media at PepsiCo, Purchase, NY.

“Loot is our own app, but we also signed an exclusive deal with Foursquare to expand our learnings around location and leverage their audience of more than 1 million location-based users,” he said. “This is a broader partnership, though, and the important factor is not necessarily how many folks they have existing on the platform, but how valuable we see location being.

“We’re partnering with them to provide proximity-based offers for people that check in to certain locations, and we help them scale by partnering with our retail partners.”

Integrations could range from the basic, existing offer set Foursquare provides—when users check in somewhere, they are alerted to offers in their area—to integrations into their back-end system letting users check in to get a badge and show that badge at the point of sale to redeem an offer.

“There could potentially be even deeper integration where the frequency of check in delivers some reward to enhance the loyalty component,” Mr. Bough said. “The Millennial demographic and early-adopters are huge for PepsiCo, and many of those consumers are iPhone users.

“Quick-serve restaurants overindex with Millennials and Gen-Xers, who tend to have a 24/7 on-the-go lifestyle,” he said.

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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