You've got to give PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) some credit. It knows how to go after its core soda-sipping audience. In the latest promotional campaign for its Mountain Dew soft-drink line, the company will give away Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox 360 game systems.

It's a match made in heaven. Pepsi has positioned Mountain Dew as the drink of choice for extreme-sports fanatics and young caffeine junkies. Microsoft's next-generation gaming device is a natural for teen and young-adult controller jockeys.

But where Pepsi really earns my syrupy praise is in the way it is carrying out the giveaway. True to its "Every 10 Minutes" promotional tagline, Pepsi will be awarding a new Xbox every 10 minutes over the next nine weeks. Staging the promotion before the new console hits retailers for the holiday season is clever. The way Pepsi is going about it is even better.

Mountain Dew drinkers with specially marked sodas will be able to enter promotional codes to enter the contest. Through a website powered by Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), entrants will be able to single out the 10-minute window they want. They can spread their codes across various segments or go for the surge attack and wager them all on a single 10-minute slot.

This twist adds a level of strategy to the quest of landing a new game system. It's perfect, if not entirely original. At Electronic Arts' (NASDAQ:ERTS) Pogo.com, players of the free online games rack up points they can use to enter perpetual giveaways. It's always been a great hook, and the promotion should help spur sales of Mountain Dew.

I took Pepsi's marketing to task three years ago when it rolled out its doomed Pepsi Blue. The company tested 100 different formula combinations before settling on the Windex-blue concoction, but then blew it by promoting the drink with a band whose first hit single was about teenage suicide.

The cola wars have often found Pepsi and rival Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) turning to celebrity stars for televised endorsements, but they backfire from time to time. That's why Pepsi is playing it right this time. The Xbox is a shoo-in to be the hot plaything of the 2005 holiday season. Nintendo (NASDAQ:NTDOY) and Sony (NYSE:SNE) won't be rolling out their next-generation devices until next year. Pepsi has all the right ingredients for a successful campaign this time around. I raise an uncapped bottle of Mountain Dew to toast its rule breakin' effort.

Coca-Cola is a recommendation of the Motley Fool Inside Value newsletter service; Electronic Arts has been selected in Motley Fool Stock Advisor.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz isn't a huge fan of Mountain Dew, though his son can down the Code Red variety as if it were water. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. T he Fool has a disclosure policy.