For about two weeks, Pepsi asked fans online and via a digital billboard in New York's Times Square to submit their pictures for a chance to appear in a 30-second "intro" spot to air right before the halftime show.
The company said the effort was more popular than it expected: Pepsi expected to get 2,000 photos, but got 100,000 instead. About 1,000 photos were chosen to be a part of the intro, one in each frame of the spot, 15 frames a second, stitched together in "flipbook" style video that appears to show one person jumping to the tune of Beyonce's "Countdown" song.
"We don't just want (viewers) on pepsi.com, we want them telling their friends 'I just did something with Pepsi," said Angelique Krembs, vice president of trademark Pepsi marketing. "You want the friend to tell the friend about Pepsi. You don't want Pepsi to always be the one talking about Pepsi."
Coca-Cola created an online campaign that pits three groups — a troupe of showgirls, biker style badlanders and cowboys — against each other in a race through a desert for a Coca-Cola.
Starting Jan. 23 and continuing until the end of the Super Bowl, viewers can vote online for their favorite group. The group with the most votes will be revealed in an ad after the Super Bowl ends. And the first 50,000 voters will get a free Coke if they register for Coke's loyalty program.
The campaign is more interactive than Coca-Cola's online effort last year, which featured a real-time animation of Polar Bears reacting to what was happening during the Super Bowl.
"Last year's effort was much more passive. It was you watching bears watching the game," said Pio Schunker, senior vice president of integrated marketing. "This year we thought, 'Can we up ante on the fun factor by handing the reins over to consumers?'"