​Pepsi's smartphone in China: Beginning of a device as marketing trend

Pepsi's P1 smartphone seems absurd at first glance. But the idea is worth a shot and could be a marketing and customer engagement bonanza in China.

Pepsi will start selling a branded smartphone in China that on the surface looks somewhat absurd, but could be the beginning of device as marketing trend.

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According to Reuters, PepsiCo will begin selling a smartphone in China dubbed the Pepsi P1. MobiPicker first reported the news and noted that the smartphone will have a 5.5-inch screen and run on Android.

How this phone will do is anyone's guess, but for consumers who love Pepsi they would basically buy the device for the logo and splash screen. Pepsi gets to market its soda in your hands. Pepsi enable frictionless commerce apps that make buying its products easier the smartphone would easily pay for itself. Can a Coca-Cola or Starbucks phone be too far behind?

Licensing of brands isn't unique. Is a smartphone any more unique than Coca-Cola's clothing line?

Tech brands are increasingly looking at non-tech options too. Apple is pondering a car. Google is too. Amazon tinkers with brick-and-mortar outlets for giggles.

Pepsi may just be ahead of the curve here. As technology costs come down devices will essentially become throwaway items. Exhibit A: Android tablets.

Last week, Gartner analysts floated the idea that CIOs need to ponder how they could use wearables to achieve business goals. Perhaps these enterprises even make their own wearables for marketing and customer outreach.

I've heard crazier ideas. Just ask Pepsi.

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