PepsiCo, the global food and beverage corporation, recently scored a social media first. In the summer of 2013 the company produced a vegetable garden powered by social media interaction, aimed at promoting its Naked Juice brand. But, in spite of the creativity of the idea and a substantial budget, PepsiCo’s vegetable patch drew a muted response and was quickly harvested.
Every time a water-related tweet was sent to @thepowergarden, sprinklers were activated, helping to grow plants that yield the fruit and vegetables used in Naked Juice’s products. Facebook comments had a similar effect, and the garden was open to visits too – the plants were wired to emit a harmonic sound when touched.
Upon its launch, the Senior Director of Marketing at Naked Juice, Andrea Theodore, said: “The Power Garden allows [consumers] to have a hand in growing the types of veggies that we’ve blended in our new Tomato Kick and Berry Veggie drinks.”
We’re impressed by PepsiCo’s innovative approach, but the eventual failure of the interactive vegetable garden shows that, in the digital world, a great idea isn’t enough. PepsiCo failed to draw enough attention to the initiative, and just 292 tweets were sent to water the garden.
This ambivalence could have been influenced by a lawsuit – Naked Juice was being sued for allegedly using genetically modified ingredients at the time the project was underway. But whatever PepsiCo’s reasons for failing to promote its vegetable garden, the situation highlights the importance of dedication and engagement with consumers to any social media campaign.
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