Notes from the Pepsi Playground

By Kiran Aditham Comment

Just before SXSW attendees cracked open their bottles moments ago to toast to happy hour, we managed to wander over to the PepsiCo Playground, which the brand has built for the third year in a row at the Austin Convention Center. Call it a an over-the-top monument celebrating their portfolio of brands and continuing SXSWi sponsorship, the Playground this year features among other things a Super Shopper digital game that uses technology developed by PepsiCo10’s Evil Genius Designs (Dennis Crowley is on his way down to partake from what we hear) and lets players “shop” for PepsiCo products, post scores to the leaderboard and tweet photos of games to their social networks. In addition, there’s a limited supply of Lipton Brisk cans (above) featuring images crowdsourced from Instagram users as well as live streaming of keynotes and other events doing down in downtown Austin.

We snagged PepsiCo’s global director of digital and social media Bonin Bough for a few minutes and he tells us that the biggest takeaway at SXSWi 2011 thus far, and you needn’t be a high-level exec to drop this kind of science, is that brands are “further embracing emerging technologies.” Revelatory statement aside, we haven’t witnessed the emergence of cloud computing as a hot SXSW trend like PepsiCo predicted. But then again, it’s only Saturday.