Gets a Digital Overhaul

Visitors to will hardly recognize the place. Earlier this month, Pepsi-Cola North America completely renovated its online entity. The goal was to streamline the user experience while making it easier for the beverage maker to swap in new promotions as they arise.

The Pepsi site, which launched in 1996, is renovated roughly every two years. It attracts about a million unique visitors a month.

Most recently, the site tended to focus on whatever the big promotion of the day was, be it a Nascar tie-in with Jeff Gordon or the chance to redesign its can.

Too often, the many other promotions got lost, said John Vail, director of interactive marketing group for PCNA, Purchase, N.Y. “Lots of assets live on our pages. We wanted to make an easy way to find so consumers don’t have to hunt and peck.”

Long-time digital agency Tribal DDB, Dallas, used Papervision’s 3D technology to showcase all of Pepsi’s online destinations. It uses 29 individual panels that feature screen grabs of Pepsi’s content. The panels can be rotated four at a time.

“There were lots of concerns about clutter on the site,” said Matt Smith, associate creative director, Tribal DDB, Dallas. Some brands “add everything and the kitchen sink on Web sites to engage and attract consumers.”

Pepsi attempted to simplify things by making the first four panels representations of its “big bets” for the year: Pepsi Stuff, Design Our Pepsi Can, Pepsi Racing and Diet Pepsi Max.

“People are moving quickly. They want information quickly,” said Christian Dietrich, director of the Pepsi business, Tribal DDB. “They need a portal experience that allows them to find what they are looking for and allows them to dive into an engagement experience.”

This includes making it easy for college students to find the brand’s history as well as for consumers to find its ads. “There are lots of places to see video. This is the authentic place to see the brand spots,” said Vail.

Overall, “We want to make sure we can leverage all of brands, partnerships and associations in a way that has a single voice to the consumer,” said Vail.

The new site is just part of PCNA’s emphasis on digital. It nearly doubled its online media spend last year at $17.5 million for all of is beverage brands, per TNS Media Intelligence. In 2006, it spent $9.4 million.