One of Apple Computer's first major forays into joint marketing took form about a year ago at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes when Ron Lawner, Arnold Worldwide chairman-chief creative officer, bumped into some creatives from Apple's agency, Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif.
Arnold client Volkswagen of North America had completed a successful campaign giving away a free Trek bicycle with the Jetta, he says, and was looking for another opportunity. VW and Apple "were two very cool brands, very modern marketers who treated customers with intelligence," he says. Both were also rooted in design and appealed to very educated consumers.
The ensuing "Pods unite" campaign, developed by Havas-owned Arnold, featured a free Apple iPod and a connection kit for buyers of a new Beetle while retaining the attitude of the two brands.
That appears to be just the beginning of Apple's move to unleash the power of joint marketing, which is arranged "very opportunistically" through the marketer's new buzz marketing unit, which also handles product placements and other promotions, according to an executive familiar with Apple's organization.
In October, Pepsi-Cola North America and Apple announced a big-time promotional extravaganza: The giveaway of 100 million free songs from Apple's iTunes Music Store. The promotion is scheduled to launch via a Super Bowl spot and other ads from Pepsi shop BBDO Worldwide, New York, also part of Omnicom. Starting in February, codes for the free songs will be placed in the caps of 20-ounce and 1-liter bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist with one in three bottles a winner.
Given Pepsi's involvement with music in its marketing since the 1980s, "It did not escape our notice [that iTunes] would offer a pretty compelling opportunity for us to partner," says Katie Lacey, VP-colas and media at Pepsi-Cola North America. Ms. Lacey declined to discuss how much the promotion would cost or how the expenses would be divided among the two companies.
But even that promotion may be small potatoes compared with one reportedly cooking with Apple and fast-feeder McDonald's Corp.-which serves Pepsi competitor Coca-Cola Co.-and reportedly involving giving away as many as 1 billion iTunes songs. "There's no McDonald's promotion that I'm aware of," Ms. Lacey says.