We could all learn a thing or two about product activation tours from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, two of the great beverage industry giants with impressive marketing track records. Activation tours with vehicles or pop-ups that travel to special locations to make appearances at high-traffic events are a great way to make sure that products gets seen and that guests get an opportunity to interact directly with the brand. The Coke Swelter Stopper and Pepsi NSPIRE tours are excellent examples of this type of marketing done right.
Coke Swelter Stopper
In the mid-2000s, Coca-Cola began to notice that it was losing its connection with the younger generation. The company realized that it would need to change its approach to marketing if it didn’t want to miss out on a vital consumer group and possibly jeopardize its future earning potential. As a lead sponsor of the Olympics, Coca-Cola wanted to seize the opportunity to create hype around their brand and build an emotional connection with the ages 13-24 market.
This is why, in 2011, Coca-Cola paired with experiential marketing agency Escalate to create the Swelter Stopper campaign, which traveled the country, connecting directly with teens and young adults along the way. The campaign took its form as a fully-branded and entirely cool trailer that was completely decked out with interactive elements and entertainment options that encouraged guests to stick around and share their experience with their friends, while escaping the summer heat. Some of these attractions include Xbox consoles, a DJ and dance floor, a branded video booth and, of course, free samples of Coke products. The trailer’s video booth area allowed for guests to “share happiness” -- a theme of the event -- by sending video shout outs to the Coca-Cola-sponsored Olympians.
The double expandable trailer, similar to concession trailers created by Craftsmen Industries, offered 1,000 square feet of space so guests never felt cramped. Additionally, its high powered HVAC system kept the vehicle at a steady 37 degrees, which helped keep both the drinks and Coke cool.
After visiting 98 events in 42 cities across the United States, the tour reached 278,000 guests, resulting in 6.8 million over the road impressions, 10.9 million Facebook impressions, 116,277 new online fans, and 53 blogs and web articles written about the experience. This kind of exposure is exactly what Coca-Cola was looking for, as it allowed them to reach their target market of teens and young adults online and in person.
Pepsi’s introduction of its Spire fountain dispenser technology needed to be flashy, eye-catching and attention-getting to drive consumer awareness, but also build trade demand. They knew that in order to achieve this, they’d need a product activation that consumers couldn’t ignore.
From this idea came the PepsiCo NSPIRE, a mobile kitchen trailor by Craftsmen Industries helped create a culinary experience which embodies PepsiCo’s spirit and numerous product offerings through an exciting activation event. The NSPIRE vehicle was designed to showcase PepsiCo’s proprietary Spire technology -- a touchscreen, automated soda fountain -- while serving its guests from its restaurant-quality kitchen. In addition to the Pepsi Spire units that allow customers to customize their Pepsi beverages, the vehicle served dishes from PepsiCo brands, such as Mountain Dew Zesty Chicken Wings, Sabra Spicy Hummus Turkey Chili and Cheetos Late-Night Breakfast Top N’ Go. PepsiCo also partnered with select restaurants to feature their items at certain locations.
The NSPIRE unit traveled to music, art and food festivals, as well as sporting, retail and industry events. This reached many consumers, in addition to businesses that got to experience the excitement that a Pepsi Spire machine could bring to their space. During this multi-year, multi-stop activation and awareness campaign, the vehicle gave out nearly 10,000 samples and garnered 2.8 million digital impressions. Its digital success was amplified by the brand encouraging guests to share their experiences with the activation alongside the hashtag #NSPIRE.