Pepsi Super Bowl promo airs before caps available

Pepsi-Cola's attention-getting Super Bowl ad campaign offering free music downloads from Apple's iTunes Music Store hasn't paid off in a big digital sales spike — yet. Bottles with the winning promotions took longer to get into stores than expected. (Video: The Pepsi/iTunes ad) Specially marked bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist offer free download codes in bottle caps. But they arrived in New York last week, four weeks after 90 million viewers saw the Super Bowl ad. The bottles have yet to show up in Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest media market, and won't get there until mid-March, Pepsi says.

"You can't spike sales in February if the bottles aren't there," says Charles Wolf, an analyst with Wall Street research firm Needham & Co. "My guess is there's going to be a sales increase, but a month later than expected." "Marketing 101 is that you don't advertise something unless you have it out on the shelves," says Mark Hughes, CEO of consultant BuzzMarketing. "If the caps aren't out there, what's the point?" Pepsi spokesman Dave DeCecco says the company isn't disappointed. "There's no perfect scenario," he says. "You can't push a button and get (the bottles) everywhere."

News source: USA Today

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