South By Southwest, the legendary music festival in Austin Texas, has in recent years also become an interactive festival, and a magnet for new digital and social media . This year, Pepsi is sponsoring Internet radio station BlogTalkRadio, as they broadcast live from the festival.
Global Director of Digital and Social Media for Pepsi Bonin Bough talked about Pepsi’s reasons for being at SXSW and sponsoring BlogTalkRadio. South By Southwest is a festival that has cultivated its image with digital and social media content creators. It’s hugely attended by cutting edge social media players. According to Bough, Pepsi’s sponsorship is all about being at the crossroads of digital content creation, sponsoring and enabling it.
BlogTalkRadio is an interesting hybrid of an Internet radio station and a blogging/social media site. Their coverage at South By Southwest, sponsored by Pepsi, includes Digital SpeakEasy – a program that highlights what’s new in digital and social media, and Podcast Playground – a place where people can actually record and stream podcasts from SXSW. I’ve noticed a bunch of tweets about Podcast Playground on Twitter the past couple of days, so if the goal is to create buzz, they must be happy.
Bough said the sponsorship of BlogTalkRadio is a way for Pepsi to connect with its customer base in a way that’s very different than a banner click. Twitter, Web Radio, Facebook, You Tube are places where Pepsi is experimenting, according to Bough. Evaluation of these media is not based on a strict click through evaluation, but more focused on connections rather than impressions. “The upside is the potential relationship that we can build,” he says.
It’s great to see Pepsi exploring Internet radio at such a visible venue, and to see BlogTalkRadio creating the kind of unique sponsorships that got Pepsi involved. No doubt other advertisers are taking notice.