Coke vs. Pepsi: Branded Acts of Kindness

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Coke and Pepsi have both released videos in the last week utilizing vending machines. This follows Coke’s release of the ‘Happiness Machine’ last year.

Here are all three for your viewing pleasure:

Round 1 – Coke’s entree which landed in the Purple Goldfish Project at #186

Round 2 – Pepsi chimes in and goes ‘social’

Round 3 – Coke responds by going ‘supersize’

Both are creating brand experiences through a concept I call ‘Acts of Kindness’. There are three types:

Random Act of Kindness- we’ve all seen this before. Good deeds / unexpected acts such as paying tolls, filling parking meters or buying gas for consumers. Usually a one off feel good PR activation. This draws upon gift economy priniciples. Giving with no expectation of immediate return, except maybe for potential PR value.

wwhsn?Branded Act of Kindness – next level 2.0. Here the item given is usually tied closely with the brand and its positioning. It’s less random, more planned and potentially a series of activations. This is where Coke is currently playing. The brand is making a conscious effort to create acts of ‘Happiness’. The collection of acts can be found on Facebook at WWHSN, an acronym for ‘Where Will Happiness Strike Next’. This has the feel of a traditional marketing campaign. But according to EVP / CMO Joe Tripodi, Coke is leaning more towards ‘expressions’ than traditional ‘impressions’. Less eyeballs and more emphasis on touches. What is an expression or a touch? It’s a ‘like’ on Facebook, a video on YouTube, sharing a photo, a tweet on Twitter etc.

Pepsi-Social-Vending-Machine-1Lagniappe Act of Kindness – 3.0 stuff. Kindness imbedded into your brand. Giving little unexpected extras (g.l.u.e) as part of your product or service. This is rooted in the idea of ‘added value’ to the transaction. Not a one off or a campaign, but an everyday practice that’s focused on customers of your brand. This is where Pepsi is playing with their ‘Be Social’ vending machines (#796 in the Purple Goldfish Project). Everyone who purchases a soda from these machines has an opportunity to gift a soda. Although the gift isn’t free, the ability to craft a video message and send a ‘branded act of kindness’ is a nice little unexpected extra.

Here is an infographic that shows all 3:

branded acts of kindness

What are your thoughts? Is there a winner here? Do these types of marketing activities make sense?

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – How about a vending machine on wheels?

Bonus Video – Here is neat ice cream vending machine that will not only make you smile, but reward you for doing so. I witnessed ‘Share Happy’ first hand last year at Cannes. Very cool job by Unilever (pun intended):

Lagniappe defined: A marketing lagniappe, i.e. purple goldfish, is any time a business goes above and beyond to provide a ‘little something extra’. It’s that unexpected surprise that’s thrown in for good measure.

How do you stand out in the sea of sameness? How do you win repeat customers and influence word of mouth? Are you Giving Little Unexpected Extras?

What’s Your GLUE?

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