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Pepsi Max bus From bus to buzz: How Pepsi Max surprised random commuters

You all have to admit it: waiting for a bus is quite boring. You are already annoyed when it does not show up at the expected time and the others who are also waiting for it are equally annoyed as you. Result? Not that great an atmosphere! It could of course be just me, as I am an impatient person, but I am convinced most of you will share my opinion.

Waiting for a bus: from boring to surprising

It should not be that boring all the time though and that is  exactly what Pepsi Max had in mind when creating their new advertising stunt. Pepsi Max took over one single London bus shelter in the middle of New Oxford Street and surprised commuters with an ‘unbelievable’ augmented reality experience. The brand secretly installed augmented reality technology in one side of the bus shelter to make it seem as if crazy scenes were happening next to it on the street.

So for some of the random commuters, waiting for a bus will never be the same again. While probably already being in their annoyed phase just look around, they get surprised by amazing scenes, going from an octopus that suddenly appears from the sewer to an alien invasion and a man who is landing from who-knows-where hanging from a few dozen balloons.

All of this just to make one thing clear: these commuters may have experienced the unbelievable, but they probably have not yet tasted Pepsi Max: no sugar and maximum taste. Now that is unbelievable.

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Prankvertising gone right

Ok, I may be exaggerating slightly, but it is a fact that this advertising stunt fits perfectly into Pepsi’s ‘Unbelievable’ campaign and is a success (more than 3 million YouTube views in only 5 days). But let’s watch it in a Millennial’s perspective and dive a little deeper. What makes this campaign a success? Simple: it is prankvertising gone right.

To freshen up your memory: you can talk about prankvertising when you perform an advertising stunt involving average people, who often have no idea that they are part of the making of a commercial or video, designed to go viral. And we have already shown in a previous blog post that Millennials really love a good old-fashioned prank. So combining a good prank with an underlying brand message seems to be the perfect combination to attract the Millennials’ attention.

Let’s not forget the fact that this advertising stunt falls under one of the five Millennial trends for 2014 as well, namely ‘Serendipity’. We feel an increasing need for unexpected, coincidental and fun discoveries and surprises in a society where everything is becoming too predictable. Remember my predictable feeling when I am walking towards a bus stop, knowing upfront that I will be bored… :). And then there’s the Pepsi Max bus stop*.

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Give them something to share

On top of that, we are still a social, digital generation which makes this advertising stunt a conversation starter as well, both on an offline and an online level. Annoyed people waiting together for a bus will talk about the surprise which just happened and are instantly no longer annoyed. People will take pictures and make movies to share on their social media channels. And if that is not enough, people can even take part in the stunt itself as there is a camera attached to the bus shelter too so that they can create their own ‘scary’ story.

So, don’t worry about possibly being bored when waiting for your next bus. You never know what might happen…

*By the way, Pepsi Max is not the only brand using a random bus stop to share its message. SOS Children’s Villages Norway performed an advertising stunt last month, where a hidden camera was set up near a bus stop in Oslo, where random commuters were confronted with a freezing child just sitting there waiting for his classmates. All of this to raise awareness and funds to help Syrian children in need.

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Posted in Campaigns