Pepsi promotion to rerun after winner exposed as agency staffer

Pepsi is to restage an online competition organised as part of the marketing campaign to launch its new design, after a follower of the brand on Twitter revealed that a winner works for one of the agencies involved in the campaign.

The blunder has been blamed on “an error in paperwork”.

The scavenger hunt-style promotion gives followers of PepsiAustralia on Twitter a series of clues to their location in cities across Australia. The first person to get there and hit a ‘Refresh’ button held by a Pepsi representative wins one of 101 Pepsi Refresh EFTPOS cards loaded with $250.

The Hit Refresh campaign includes outdoor advertising created by Clemenger BBDO, with TV ads produced by MTV. The social media component of the campaign, which launched on January 4, is being handled by Amnesia Razorfish, while the PR and activation of the hunt is being handled by Tango Communications.

Twitpic of Adelaide winner Amy Weston

Twitpic of Adelaide winner Amy Weston

Yesterday @PepsiAustralia posted a TwitPic of one of its $250 Adelaide winners, naming her as Amy Weston.

But Adelaide’s Magnus Toot tweeted back asking: “@pepsiaustralia Does Amy still work at Clemenger in Adelaide? Isn’t she therefore ineligible to win?”

A receptionist at Clemenger BBDO Adelaide told Mumbrella that Weston is art director although she was unavailable to come to the phone.

On the Hit Refresh website, the terms and conditions of the competition state:

If you work for us, sorry but you cant win! Directors, management, employees, officers and contractors (and their immediate families) of PepsiCo, Schweppes Australia or of the agencies or companies associated with this promotion are ineligible. “Immediate families” means spouse, parent, guardian, natural or adopted child, and sibling (whether natural or adopted by a parent), whether or not they live in the same household as the director, manager, employee, officer or contractor.”

A few minutes after Mumbrella called Tango Communications, yesterday’s tweet announcing Weston as the winner was deleted and the photograph of her was also pulled down.

A spokesman for Tango told Mumbrella that Weston’s prize has been withdrawn, and an extra competition would be run in Adelaide. She said:

“It was brought to our attention on Twitter, where a question came up about a person who worked at Clemenger. We looked into it overnight and we found out that indeed the person to hit the ‘Refresh’ button did work at Clemenger and despite being ineligible, was awarded as the winner due to an error in the paperwork. We are now conducting another hunt in Adelaide. Clemenger has no involvement in the hunt as they did the outdoor creative. This is a case of human error.”

The Twitter hunt follows a similar successful social media-led promotion launched by Levi’s last year, where hundreds of pairs of the jeans brand were ‘released’ on to the streets of Australia and New Zealand, worn by Levi’s representatives.

Devised by Host and sister PR agency One Green Bean, Twitter was used to release ‘tip offs’ as to the whereabouts of the jeans. Followers could then instantly win a pair of Levi’s by asking the wearer “Are those Levi’s?”. If correctly challenged the Levi’s clad reps had to drop their pants and hand over the jeans on the spot. The campaign was a finalist in the social media campaign category of the Mumbrella Readers Choice Awards.


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