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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.

[Want to know more about how gamification can help your business? Read Gamification In Play At Enterprise 2.0.]

"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."

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard

Attend Enterprise 2.0 Santa Clara, Nov. 14-17, 2011, and learn how to drive business value with collaboration, with an emphasis on how real customers are using social software to enable more productive workforces and to be more responsive and engaged with customers and business partners. Register today and save 30% off conference passes, or get a free expo pass with priority code CPHCES02. Find out more and register.

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Tony Ventrice
Tony Ventrice,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/9/2011 | 7:08:36 PM
re: Pepsi Creates Private Label Social Network For X-Factor
If the intent was to encourage an x-factor chat stream, the implementation is pretty far from the mark.
Gigya's implementation fails to create context or identify any intrinsic user motivations.

In a system where the only objective is to earn the most points and get your message on tv, the most successful players are going to be those who spam the stream the most. As expected, the stream is completely filled with spam -one is hard-pressed to find any mention of the x-factor show anywhere on the shout-out site.

Gigya may have experience in handling large usage loads, but they clearly don't have much experience in gamification. The Pepsi shout-out site is not only uninteresting as a destination but it fails to provide any value to Pepsi or the customer.
The fact that Gigya would cite this obvious mess as one of their 'best implementations with any brand' is honestly embarrassing.
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