Pepsi Creates Private Label Social Network For X-Factor
Pepsi Sound Off builds on Gigya's social sign-on and gamification platform for a social TV experience.
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Pepsi is demonstrating how a standard social software platform can allow a brand to quickly launch a private social website, in this case to augment on-air marketing.
The Pepsi Sound Off is a social TV experience, where fans of "The X-Factor" talent competition program meet to chat about the contestants and anything else they want to talk about. Members can login throughout the week, "but it really comes to life when 'The X-Factor' is on," Shiv Singh, global head of Pepsi Digital, explained in an interview. "It functions as Twitter on steroids for all the X-Factor fans across the country, and for every action they take, they are earning points in the background that improve their rank on a leaderboard, so there is a whole game mechanics behind it."
The application was created by the digital agency Huge, using social media platform technologies from Gigya.
Gigya provides a set of Web services for single sign-on across social media identities, identity management, gamification of applications, sharing, and analytics, and also supports customers such as Comcast SportsNet. Pepsi and Huge elected to create a custom user interface, rather than taking advantage of the user interface plug-ins Gigya provides. However, Pepsi still wanted to build on the core Web services Gigya provides, Singh said.
"Gigya has done so much on scale, which really gave us a lot of confidence," Singh said. Because this application was being advertised on nationwide TV, "it had to work from the get-go," he said. Working with Gigya also saved time, he said. "We were able to go from concept to execution in a very short timeframe because they were a partner that had a lot of the engine already figured out." In other words, Pepsi and Huge didn't need to create a social software framework from scratch.
Gigya and Pepsi have worked together before on other projects, under a master service agreement that allows Pepsi to use Gigya technologies wherever it believes they are useful, Gigya CEO Patrick Salyer said. This was the most ambitious of those projects so far, he said. "This is one of the best implementations we've done with any brand and really shows the full power of the suite. They're using social login, sharing, game mechanics, and they saw the opportunity to work with one vendor who could connect all of these dots." The level of integration achieved "would have been nearly impossible with multiple vendors," he said.
Pepsi Sound Off is being promoted in conjunction with the beverage maker's sponsorship of "The X-Factor" to start with, but Singh said Pepsi can also drive fans to the site in conjunction with its ads on other major TV events, such as the Super Bowl, the Grammys, or the Video Music Awards.
As for results, "it's a little early for us to share specific metrics, but we feel very good about where we are," Singh said, adding that the Pepsi Sound Off is already being recognized as a "best in class social TV experience."
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