Pepsi hides video in barcodes on soda cans

Remember when Apple’s Steve Jobs dissed Pepsi as a purveyor of “sugared water”? It may be time to reboot Silicon Valley’s snobbery. The giant beverage-and-snacks concern announced this week a new experiment around barcodes at Internet Week in New York City, in collaboration with a startup called Stickybits.

Using a barcode-reader application on a smartphone, users can scan barcodes on Pepsi products like soda cans or bottles and access videos and links hidden in the code. Users can also upload their own videos, photos and comments about Pepsi and its products.

All of this is powered by Stickybits, which specializes in tagging barcodes with information and accessing it. Stickybits’ product allows people not only to access information that is already programmed in a barcode, but add more information to it by uploading a video or photo to the barcode for other users to see. For Stickybits, which¬†announced a $1.6 million funding round in May, this marks the first time a major brand is signing up with Stickybits. Stickybits is looking to promote this option to other brands as well. The Stickybits app is available for the iPhone and Android platforms.

As a lot of brands are looking to social media (Starbucks’ partnership with Foursquare, for example), it’s no surprise to see major companies throwing apps out there and seeing what sticks. Pepsi thinks the Stickybits pilot is a way of providing consumers information they might want while offering a two-way communication channel, and could conceivably be a vehicle for delivering special deals, or coupons, or promotional rewards. You can see Pepsi’s representative Bonin Bough and Stickybits CEO Billy Chasen discuss the project in a video here.

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