The secondary wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has left consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands at a loss, unable to organise experiential marketing events that are pivotal in engaging youth, particularly millennials. Experiential marketing events such as music shows can connect the brand with the latest pop culture trends and enable brand interaction with large crowds of the target demography for a longer duration. Such initiatives can aid CPG manufacturers in extending their brand beyond just the product, transforming it into a lifestyle brand.

Typically, organisers mobilise digital marketing tools to amplify experiential events. For instance, organisers often leverage social media hashtags to pique consumer interest in the run-up to the event. Similarly, theme-based photobooths or experience zones are set up to encourage attendees to post selfies/videos in their social media accounts and induce a ‘fear of missing out’ (‘FOMO’) feeling within their peer circles. The number of social media posts, comments, ‘shares’, ‘tweets’ and ‘likes’ also provide metrics for brands to gauge the success of the event.

However, since the global coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, events with mass crowds have been out of the question, thereby depriving manufacturers of a powerful tool for brand communication. In this backdrop, PepsiCo Malaysia came up with an out-of-the-box idea of hosting a music concert using Augmented Reality (AR) technology. The company collaborated with the Indonesian advertising, marketing and analytics company Entropia, to host a first-of-its-kind event in Malaysia on 16 April 2021. The concert featured performances by Siti Nordiana (Nana), a singer who was voted the most popular female artist by fans at the Anugerah MeleTOP Era 2020 event. Nana was supported by three local performers, namely singer Syafeek, dancer Bell and freestyle footballer Aidil, who won the #PepsiBoldTalent TikTok challenge by amassing millions of likes for their audition videos.

The event was held to promote Pepsi Black Raspberry, which is positioned as a zero-calorie drink with a bold flavour. Consumers had to activate the link –, purchase a bottle of Pepsi Black Raspberry and scan the Pepsi logo on the label to view the concert on the bottle. As the label is critical for viewing the concert, this strategy allows PepsiCo to deliver exclusive digital content to its customers. The AR integrated bottles are poised to gain appeal among 34% of Malaysian respondents, who say that they find interactive packaging essential, or a key driver of purchases+, according to GlobalData’s Q1 2021 consumer survey. The trend is more pronounced among respondents in the age group of 25-34 years+ as seen in the above chart.

PepsiCo Malaysia’s virtual concert is expected to inspire more CPG brands across the globe to leverage digital marketing tools such as AR to engage young consumers who are seeking some entertainment and distraction from the monotony, isolation and stress induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, GlobalData’s 2021 survey reveals that 24% of Millennials and 27% of GenZ Malaysian consumers would like brands to provide them with general entertainment to distract them after the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic period+.


+GlobalData 2021 Q1 Consumer Survey, published in March 2021

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