If you have any doubt that BuzzFeed has published a crazy amount of lists over the years, well, check out the front page right now and click on the “Clock Mode” button at the top of the page.
Doing so will bring up the “Listiclock,” which was created for a campaign to promote Pepsi’s new soda Pepsi Next. (Pepsi’s agency OMD was also involved.) Every hour, minute, and second on the clock points to a BuzzFeed list that uses the same number — so for example, when I took a screenshot at 10:46:11, the hour display pointed to “10 Pictures of Henry the Flying Baby,” the minute display to “46 Photos of Christina Hendricks”, the second display to “11 Baby Animals Who Fell Asleep During ‘Lincoln’.” (Yep, that’s a real list.)
Every 10 minutes, the minute display will show a list that’s specifically sponsored by Pepsi — apparently, these lists are supposed to be “‘unbelievable,’ fun, and amazing” but aside from a few mentions of Pepzi Next, I’m not sure most readers will be able to detect a big difference between a normal BuzzFeed list and sponsored piece like “10 Traditions You Probably Didn’t Know About.”
Josh Nafman, Pepsi’s senior digital brand manager, said described this as a way to bring “true entertainment and great content” to consumers: “That’s the way brands have to go, rather than hitting them over the head with advertising.” I asked Nafman if he had any favorites , but he admitted that after approving every single list that showed up in the clock, it’s a bit of a blur.
This isn’t the first time BuzzFeed has offered a new way to navigate the site as part of an ad campaign, either — a couple of months ago I wrote about the site’s “Flight Mode”, which was promoting GE Aviation’s presence at the Paris Air Show.
BuzzFeed President and COO Jon Steinberg told me that ideas often pass back-and-forth between the company’s ad side and editorial side, and that he’s actually interested in exploring a non-sponsored, desktop version of the Listiclock.
“You can actually sit back and have a leanback BuzzFeed experience, letting the front page do the owrk for you in some ways,” he said. “Depending on the reception for this maybe we’ll try to make it more permanent type thing.”