Change the game with a big event

Pepsi held an event at their corporate headquarters in Purchase, New York on July 27-28. It wasn’t just an “innovation” or “emerging media” event. IMO, it was a game changer other markers should consider.

Named after 10 companies which will earn projects with Pepsi brands in the coming year, Pepsico10 gave participants much more than an opportunity to present to an audience of marketers. It brought the prestige of vetting and voting, the potential for funding from a VC partner and the valuable proof-of-concept that comes from a Fortune 500 company putting their solution through the paces. There will be PR benefits and a story to tell to the next risk-adverse marketer giving them confidence to pick the winning solution as well.

For the next few days I’ll share some video and impressions captured at Pepsico10 by thought leaders in each of the event participant sectors from industry consultants and experts to VCs to the start-ups pitching. I participated as a partner agency for the brands Real Branding supports at Pepsi.

A little background: Pepsico10 was an open call for start-ups to pitch their concepts and opportunities to Pepsico for the prize of potential VC funding along with earning funded projects on Pepsico brands. The concept took a page from the popular start-up insider events like TechCrunch50 and DealMaker’s “Under The Radar.” These events are as much about refining your pitch, earning funding and commercial recognition as well as the prestige of being vetted as a great idea by panels of peers and judges.

In a few short months Pepsico received nearly 500 entries which they honed to 70 companies selected to pitch their concept via 3-minute video. From the 70 videos, 20 companies were selected in four categories: Social Media and Marketing Communications; Mobile Marketing, on the Phone and Beyond; Place-Based and Retail Experiential Marketing; Digital Video and Gaming. I thought it was meaningful that companies were filtered through Pepsico’s “Peformance with Purpose” platform for shared values of Human, Environmental and Talent Sustainability.

Here’s a quick recap of the presenting companies:

And you can read Adam Ostrow’s recap at Mashable: http://bit.ly/pepsico10

Beyond the mechanics and networking within the event as well as dealflow that will follow, the three overarching takeaways I saw at work that any company or marketer should evaluate when considering launching a similar endeavor:

  1. Immersion: Senior-level marketers and brand management earned a “Clockwork Orange” treatment on four distinct areas of digital over the course of two days, becoming familiar with the opportunities, language, players, barriers and logistics of deploying in emerging spaces.
  2. Buzz/Reach: The network effect of dozens of “supernode” users (people with strong, resonant networks in Facebook, Twitter and other social nets to which they feed updates during the event) in different spaces to create a broad, largely unduplicated first and second-generation news feed of the sponsor company’s leadership. It creates a halo-effect of a company “open” for business and innovation.
  3. New thinking: as a large mass-marketer spending two days with start-ups that have the potential of reaching millions when they hit, how they think about user experience, revisioning and testing along with recruitment and leveraging the digital platform has to cause some kind of rethinking of traditional marketing processes that fail to earn these levels of adoption and rapid growth.

Others also shared these benefits for having an event like this within a large, multi-brand portfolio environment:

  • 360-view of complex fragmented digital spaces like mobile, itv, etc.
  • Speed to adopt new technologies relevant to your consumers
  • Networking benefit within and around company/silos and partners
  • Attracts more of best and brightest inventing the next big thing

My take on the event was that it was visionary and had many benefits beyond the obvious or those I’ve mentioned. If you attended, feel free to share your experiences and reactions in the comments below.

The next few posts will share impressions from other participants of the Pepsico10.

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5 responses to “Change the game with a big event

  1. Pingback: On A Mission with Blogher | SoV-Share of Voice

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