Among the findings was that Pepsi’s positive brand image traits increased dramatically among fans who not only watch the show but browse The Hills content online, where Pepsi runs 30-second spots and banners. Positive brand image increased even more among fans who played in The Hills virtual world as well. (The average time spent there, according to MTV, is about 28 minutes per encounter.)
The numbers show that among the 240 fans who watched only the on-air version of the show, about half said Pepsi promotes music events and supports music artists, while less than 30 percent said the brand was in touch with youth culture. About 15 percent of the TV-only watchers consider Pepsi “cool” or “hip” while about 1 percent indicated that Pepsi exposed them to the latest trends, styles and fashion.
But those numbers skyrocket among fans who watch the TV show, go online and enter The Hills virtual world. Upwards of 90 percent of those viewers said Pepsi promotes music and recording artists, while almost 70 percent considered the brand to be both in touch with youth culture and cool or hip.
And Pepsi’s products were a hit with participating consumers in MTV’s virtual world. The soft drink was the top-selling product in 2007, moving more than 110,000 cans that were virtually recycled and used more than 650,000 times. The cans were also seen in use over 2.4 million times by 85 percent of the user base, according to the study. “Those are very high numbers,” said Pepsi’s Vail. “To have people in-world using their virtual MTV bucks to buy Pepsi at those rates was amazing to us.