Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, eBay in Online Marketing Pact

Dr. Pepper/Seven Up and eBay announced on Friday a marketing deal that will establish an online customer loyalty program through eBay’s online auction system.

The promotion, which will begin in June, will allow customers to redeem points from bottles of Dr. Pepper/Seven Up beverages for “liquid loot,” which can be used in eBay-style bidding for a variety of prizes, such as CDs and concert tickets. Contestants can register their e-mail addresses at the Liquid Loot Web site to receive electronic coupons, updates on point totals, and alerts on items up for auction. Dr. Pepper/Seven Up will also send registered users promotions.

“We believe our relationship with eBay will help increase volume for Dr. Pepper/Seven Up brands by allowing us to develop and maintain long-term online relationships with our consumers,” said Mike McGrath, Dr. Pepper/Seven Up’s president and chief operating officer. “We look forward to being able to use this important relationship to reach millions of consumers and generate repeat purchases.”

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In addition to Dr. Pepper and Seven Up, the Plano, Tex., company makes Sunkist, A&W Root Beer, Canada Dry, and other beverages.

Dr. Pepper/Seven Up follows in the footsteps of other soft drink makers, which have tried to boost flagging sales with online promotions that build better brand loyalty, especially among young consumers.

Coke has sought to add more pep to its Coke Classic brand by making its music site, CokeMusic.com, a more visible part of its latest ad blitz. The site, launched in June 2002, allows users to win prizes by earning “decibels” through interactions with the site and by entering codes from Coke bottle caps. CokeMusic.com also requires users to register a certain amount of demographic information. It has been used for a variety of promotions, including Coke’s “American Idol” campaign last September.

Pepsi was a pioneer in using interactive for branding. Two years ago, it linked up with Yahoo! to launch PepsiStuff.com, which gave consumers the chance to redeem points from bottle caps for prizes. Pepsi and Yahoo! have also run a variety of promotions on the site in anticipation of Pepsi’s Super Bowl ads, including asking visitors to vote for the ending of its Sierra Mist commercial this year.

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