MTV, Pepsi put marketing might into 'Youth Icon'

MUMBAI: Anil Ambani, Rahul Dravid and Shahrukh Khan. What do these three have in common? Well, apart from being in the spotlight as a successful businessman, sportsman and actor respectively, these three have also been voted as the MTV Youth Icon over the last three years.

Now, the hunt for India's 'Youth Icon' has begun yet again. This time, Pepsi's brand ambassador Priyanka Chopra will be promoting the Pepsi and MTV Youth Icon 2006 along with Dravid. The duo will be announcing the final six nominees of the hunt.

The finalists for this year's Youth Icon are from varied fields like films, sports, politics, television, music and business. M S Dhoni (sports), Navjot Singh Siddhu (television), Dr. Vijay Mallya (business), President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam (science), John Abraham (films) and Abhijeet Sawant (music) are the final contenders who will be vying for the ultimate title. These final nominations have been arrived at after a 10-city study conducted by research agency IMRB.

This year, as the title sponsor, Pepsi will also push and promote the event. Specially branded Pepsi 600 ml Pet bottles, with Pepsi & MTV Youth Icon labels carrying the SMS voting codes will be launched. These will initially hit the cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Kanpur and Hyderabad.

Also, Pepsi truck backs/sides will carry the Youth Icon logo and the voting communication in these cities along with posters across 13,000 key Pepsi outlets nationwide.

What's more, Pepsi and MTV will give five lucky contest winners a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet his/her icon on MTV. Apart from this, MTV has also tied up with various media like Red FM, Headlines Today, Aaj Tak and Outlook for voting details and winner announcements. Also, promotions will be on at Baskin Robbins and Music World outlets.

MTV Networks India vice president marcom and digital Vikram Raizada said, "The big difference this year is in the marketing might, which we have put into this event. There will be a huge on-air promo push, be it on television, print or radio."

MTV has further planned youth-connect initiatives through mall activation across Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad, wherein MTV VJs will visit select malls in these cities and engage audiences in interesting thematic games and activities.

The associate sponsors on the event include Weekender, Castrol, HP and Ford Ikon. The latter will give away a Ford Ikon 'Flair' to one lucky winner who votes for his/her icon. Every mobile voter is a winner, as each valid SMS vote will entitle the voter to win a guaranteed MTV ringtone of the Youth Icon signature tune.

The number of public votes acquired by each one of the six nominees will decide the ultimate Youth Icon for the year. The voting process has already begun and will end on 22 May, 2006. Viewers can log onto to vote or can SMS "ICON" to 6882 or 8243 to vote for their choice. Additionally, they can also call 1250-122 (BSNL) or 1250-111-122 (MTNL) and cast their votes.

"The Youth Icon is a property that honors men and women of substance, who have positively influenced youth. Youth empowerment is a credo that brand Pepsi has always lived by, and we are proud to partner MTV is this highly youth relevant endeavor, that empowers them to vote for their Youth Icon," said Pepsi Foods Pvt. Ltd executive director marketing Punita Lal.

Raizada added, "The Youth Icon is a unique, one-of-a-kind platform created expressly for the youth to identify their new-age role-models. In its fourth year the Youth Icon will reach newer heights in terms of on-air engagements and on-ground activation to further empower the youth to vote for the one person who's fired their imagination through the year."

The Pepsi & MTV Youth Icon 2006 will be announced in June.

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