Pepsi partnered with Google to create a virtual reality (VR) experience where viewers can place themselves inside two of the soda brand’s iconic Super Bowl ads, sources told Adweek.
The VR experience will include Cindy Crawford’s classic 1992 ad and a 1998 spot featuring racecar driver Jeff Gordon circling a track while reaching for a Pepsi can in his car. The experience will let consumers insert themselves into the video and view the ad as if they were the racecar driver, for example, a source told Adweek, though exact plans for how the VR experience will be executed are unclear.
This effort is part of Pepsi’s broader Super Bowl marketing strategy, which includes a 30-second in-game commercial titled “This Is the Pepsi,” a new spin on the iconic Crawford ad, and a 60-second extended version of the spot online.
Super Bowl campaigns are getting increasingly interactive and multichannel, as marketers recognize that the annual event has become a major entertainment spectacle, drawing in millions of viewers — many of whom are more interested in the creative commercials than the game itself. With its new VR experience, Pepsi is giving fans a front-row seat by allowing them to immerse themselves in an ad.
The VR experience is also helping Pepsi extend its Super Bowl ad campaign beyond the game and across digital and linear channels. The Pepsi Generations campaign also includes in-store branding, purchase rewards and out-of-home activations like the VR experience and live pop-up events to celebrate “the best moments of our past, create new iconic moments for today and set the stage for an exciting future,” per a press release.
VR is still a relatively new platform for marketers. Many are realizing that the technology has marketing potential beyond video games, although VR adoption by brands and consumers could lag behind competing technology augmented reality, which is more easily accessible via a smartphone. Still, PepsiCo appears positive about VR. Last month, PepsiCo brand Gatorade previewed a VR football training game at CES, featuring Peyton Manning, to educate high school athletes about the importance of hydration, according to Adweek. The game is expected to debut this month.
Interactive experiences create more memorable impressions among consumers. These engaging video ads drive a 47% increase in the time spent with a marketing message, per a study from Magna, a media strategy group of ad giant IPG Media Lab.