Creating strategies that work – Case study of Pepsi’s #ThingsILongThroatFor.


There are a number of reasons I could point out as to why the Pepsi #ThingsILongThroatFor campaign that ran between November and December last year totally worked for me; from the localized hashtag that resonated appropriately to this market to the pretty good use of media… it was plenty. However, for the purpose of this post, I would be picking out relevant aspects of this campaign to talk you through creating strategies that work.

Basic brief:

Pepsi Co wanted to get a higher cola market share (especially after the Share A Coke campaign – which was lit by the way! Still have a can with my nickname! – would blog on this soon enough). So they decided to give more value at the same price and introduced a new pet bottle size for their range of products into the Nigerian market. Now, they needed the most creative and effective way to drive this.

Let’s imagine you got this Pepsi Co brief and you were supposed to get back to them with a kick ass idea and strategy for this launch, what would be your first action?

Chances are that you would share the brief amongst the necessary people and all’a y’all would gather in the board room for a brainstorming session. Then, you would split the campaign in three; Pre-launch (build curiosity), Launch and Sustenance. You would probably have these scribbled on the board as individual headings, then ask everyone to start dropping ideas like it’s hot.  LOL.

While this isn’t necessarily wrong, I’ve learned that all the most successful campaigns (in the world!) followed a specific course of action and I will be sharing that with you! So,  first, when y’all are gathered in the board room, rather than go straight to the hot ideas, you want to:

1. Talk about the (target) audience:

 The thing about collectively talking about the brand’s audience is that it gives you further insight to who it is exactly you’re trying to reach with your idea.  It’s important that all the necessary information you can think of these people is laid out, as it would factor in the type communication you want to put out there and help you work the ideas in that direction.

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In the case of this campaign, we saw that one of the biggest sects of Pepsi’s audience are the millennials and we know for certain that these ones are aspirational and  increasingly familiar with digital trends, hence, it was a perfect fusion when we noticed that the pre-launch phase of the campaign capitalized on these factors by starting a conversation on Twitter asking for the objects of their desire.

 You only get to this type of nitty gritty by extensively profiling your audience and detailing their most likely traits and how to get to them. This brings me to the next step.

2. Think Media 1st! (Or second?):

After you have profiled all the different sects of your audience, you want to play in their world for a bit, visualizing every type of media or digital channel (when it’s a strictly digital campaign) they’re exposed to on a day to day or even per time basis. This informs the decision on the media you would be adopting for each phase of the campaign and it helps fine tune the hot ideas to fit appropraitely. There’s nothing worse than “cropping” ideas to fit into multiple channels. (This happens a lot with creatives in this market weeps)

Still on the prelaunch phase of the Pepsi campaign, along with the banter on Twitter, there were multiple radio shows randomly asking people things they were longthroating for.  Of course, this raised further curiousity with the millenials, but bigger than that for me is that it also pulled in the extra sects of Pepsi’s audience who are accessible via that form of media, into the prelaunch phase.

 P.S.: 360 campaigns would always be BAE.

3.Change the Rules:

This is where your hot ideas come in 🙂

Saying “Think out of the box” is probably the most cliché sentence used during brainstorming sessions, but really, think out of the box. There’s more to marketing campaigns than splashing well done creatives on all the relevant media, there should always be a well rounded strategy around it. Ideas need to always pull or push something with your audience. Push; would be driving participation while pull could be getting them to get something out, nostalgia perhaps? (I’m not allowed to say this here – because strictly Nigerian content – but guys, Oreo has the best campaigns! They ALWAYS change the rules! You should look them up)

So with Pepsi, I think what I found different was, they sorta conveniently played on the biggest field where you can catch Nigerian users without having to put up any commitments. So it’s generally a thing in this space on social media especially, that to get people talking to your brand or trying something you really want them to, you need to give them some sorta reward. You know it and I know it too 🙂

 Now, the #ThingsILongThroatFor campaign started out with Pepsi’s ambassadors and random influencers asking people the objects of their desire. A lot of  other celebrities were on it as well, that was okay I guess. But then, Seyi Shay, jumped on it and said a host of things she longthroated for, one of which was to be a Pepsi ambassador (All of this was in the prelaunch phase). Then, suddenly, we see a tweet showing that Seyi Shay had been granted what she longthroated for and had been made a Pepsi ambassador!

What does this say to you? Be honest.


I wouldn’t know what your answer is but it did make a host of people think they might get what they might “suddenly” get what they longthroated for and this drove participation extensively and got the hashtag trending organically. 

4. Understand the roles of Owned, Paid and Earned Media

In case you aren’t already familiar with these terms, in one liners;

  • Owned media is any web property a brand owns, talk about websites, blogs, social medis channels etc.
  • Paid Media is advertising basically; PPC or display ads, social media ads, paid influencers etc.
  • Earned media is the fruit of both of them J It’s online word of mouth. All the engagement that comes from your owned and paid media in form of shares, mentions, likes, reposts, reblogs and sometimes “virality”. All earned media.

Now, campaigns always need to aim towards having the sweet fruit called earned media. I mean, there’s nothing sweeter than seeing people actually feeling your idea and talking about it in as many ways as possible.

However, all three of these elements are important to a digital strategy and it’s up to you to evaluate and decide where to allocate your resources bearing in mind that earned media is the fastest vehicle that drives sentiments around your brand.

The earned media the long throat campaign garnered was totally off the hook and even greater was it moved the number of followers on their twitter handle from less than a thousand to over 40,000 in two months.

5. Define KPIs

The end goal of every marketing endeavor is sales. Always put the end goal in the picture. It’s great to have all the buzz but is it translating directly to sales? Would there be an upward shift for the brand after the campaign is over and done with? It’s important to analyze this and the best way is to define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) early enough. You would need to consider if online brand affinity or better still, virality, would result in in-store purchases, and if not, how best to make it happen.

KPIs range from getting virality to number of lead conversions from specific channels, they would always be campaign specific and most importantly, they help you to continually observe, measure and optimize the campaign to ensure the set goals are met.

I feel like I could have touched more extensively on this, but it’d have turned into a term paper, so instead, if there’s some part you want to ask about, hit me up in the comment section below. Also, if this campaign didn’t gel with you, I’d love to know why, and, if  it did and there are extra elements I haven’t touched that you loved, please let me know too!

Oh, by the way, I really hated the creatives. I thought the ambassadors looked creepy with the overstretched necks.

Now, go forth and conquer those briefs! 😉