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Frito-Lay scores with a World Cup Web 3.0 campaign to reach a new goal in brand marketing

Mark Samuels Profile picture for user Mark Samuels December 20, 2022
Vatom technology powers a new blockchain-based project for the FIFA World Cup.


Food giant Frito-Lay North America has worked with Web 3.0 technology specialist Vatom to give football fans the opportunity to win prizes, meet fans and create a unique NFT during the FIFA World Cup.

Soccer fans who purchased Frito-Lay products during the event could scan a QR code and join the ‘Pass the Ball Challenge’, which Eric Pulier, CEO of Vatom, says powered the largest Web 3.0 marketing campaign to date. More than 100,000 consumers signed up to the challenge in the first four days; today, that figure stands at more than 450,000.

However, Pulier says this is a game  of two halves – rather than just being the biggest, the campaign wanted to be the most effective. The aims of the project – increased reach, dwell time, and sharing – are often he objectives of traditional, web-based campaigns. What made the Frito-Lay project unique was its association to the FIFA World Cup, he argues: 

We wanted to take advantage of a moment – the world's largest sporting event. There's a whole number of firsts that came out of this project. And the end results are nothing short of spectacular.

Consumers who scanned a QR code could access games and win prizes, including a trip to the World Cup Final, which was won by Argentina after a thriller with France on 18 December. More specifically in terms of Web 3.0, participants were given a limited edition NFT version of a golden football with their image on it. Pulier explains: 

When you take a selfie, it becomes emblazoned on a golden hexagon in three dimensions and falls into your wallet. You scan the QR code, take a selfie, and gain this golden hexagon that is minted on the blockchain. You can then ‘pass the ball’, where you pass the selfie to a friend. And then you become part of a football community.

Pulier says the partnership between Vatom and Frito-Lay, which is part of the PepsiCo group, was developed this year in an “unusually short timeframe” because of the fast-approaching deadline of the World Cup. Rather than work with an external agency, Vatom became a direct PepsiCo vendor and worked with their internal teams to run the project:

That worked well. They were able to cut through a lot of the red tape. To get approval to run an NFT on a blockchain means it has to be vetted at the highest levels.

Team formation 

Pulier says the move from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 involves a different communications model between brands and consumers. Instead of the flatter world of sites and apps in Web 2.0, consumers can keep everything of value in a digital wallet and Pulier believes the assets they hold allow them to develop a more meaningful connection to brands:

When you scan the QR code, you're not being sent to the Frito-Lay website or app. You're going to your own wallet that you own independently of Frito-Lay, PepsiCo or Vatom. With Web 3.0, you create permanent authenticated and unique artefacts – and that creates a different type of emotional connection.

For Frito-Lay, this deeper connection can also be measured quantitatively. Figures suggest 70% of users engaged with the campaign on a daily basis; 40% shared the campaign with a friend. Without quoting financial figures, Pulier says the investment resulted in “unprecedented” levels of engagement:

We've been doing this for decades and we've seen nothing like it. It's so much more engaging, which means that it's very hard to go back to the old world when you see the results that you get with a campaign like this.

Pulier says he would have been “dancing on the ceiling” if anywhere between two percent and five percent of users took a selfie, passed it to a friend, and gave their first-party data to PepsiCo. However, what he’s actually seen during the campaign are engagement levels in excess of 30%. Every individual who's opted in to this campaign has direct communication channel back to Frito-Lay. That’s crucial for the marketing teams behind the brand because they no longer have to rely on intermediaries, such as tech firms or retailers, to help manage their messaging:

When there’s somebody between you and your customer, you're at the mercy of others to develop this relationship over time. Web 3.0 is a collapse of advertising, marketing and loyalty into one – and the direct communication channel that now opens up allows brands to continually earn their keep.

The project creates benefits for Vatom, too. Every consumer signing up to the campaign will have in many cases created their first digital wallet. That technological foundation has important implications going forward as these consumers and more brands look to build marketing relationships through Web 3.0. Pulier says: 

We deal with the legalities and the compliance rules for managing data on behalf of the brands and on behalf of the consumer. We'd love that everyone adopts this platform, but we're not marketing directly to the brand’s customers. It's the consumers who are making their decisions about who they want to talk to.

Of course, not every Web 3.0 project will be as pioneering. This first-of-its-kind partnership struck a chord because of its creativity. Consumers who liked the idea of a minted coin and a digital wallet this time might not feel so passionate after two, 10 or 50 similar campaigns. Pulier, however, believes this event is just the start and other innovative campaigns – such as Starbucks’ adoption of NFTs, which was profiled in diginomica – will follow:

We are at the beginning of an exponential curve of adoption because we have measurable results. Companies want first-party data for the benefit of creating personalized communications, so they can get to know and serve them better. This is the next generation of marketing and loyalty.

Pulier says running an innovative and successful Web 3.0 campaign – in what might once have been perceived as a risky area – has drawn the attention of other large brands. His company is already working with P&G, iHeartMedia, and WPP. He advises other business leaders to think about getting a stake in the ground, too:

Yes, it’s early. And yes, it is important to walk before you run. But at the same time, there's now substantial results coming back from projects that have rolled out at scale that you can learn from. And it's not a question of whether you're going to adopt these capabilities, it's how and when.

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