Do you like entering contests that allow you to be creative? If so, you should take a look at a new promotional initiative being offered by PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP).

Pepsi is interested in changing the look of its flagship soda cans, although not necessarily on a permanent basis. According to the press release which describes the "Design Our Pepsi Can" challenge, the beverage giant wants to shake things up by having the background graphics on its cans change every few weeks (the main logo and font depicting the Pepsi name will remain the same). So, Pepsi is looking to high-profile names such as musical acts The All-American Rejects and Pharrell Williams to offer up some novel designs. And, yes, they want one lucky winner from the masses to have his/her graphical ideas attached to 500 million cans. Oh, besides the fame, there's a monetary prize worth $10,000 to shoot for.

Changing packaging is easily one of the best ways to spruce up a brand and perhaps stimulate sales. There is some risk, of course -- loyalty to one look might be difficult to overcome in certain cases. And if the new look is just plain horrible, then that's not going to score any points. In general, however, I think updating the outer shell of a consumer product can work wonders. Speaking for myself, I always enjoy seeing what new design my favorite brands are sporting. I also love promotional tie-ins that temporarily alter packaging -- as an example, Frito-Lay's use of Star Wars characters in recent years definitely enticed me to buy more of the company's salty snacks.

Allowing the public to have a financial interest in the image alteration adds further dimension to the promotion. Contests like this have been around for years, but I think such a program takes on even more meaning in this age. It seems like everyone is a budding artist these days. We're living in a world where everyone has access to reasonably priced digital cameras and editing equipment. Any movie you shoot can be uploaded to YouTube at a moment's notice. Still images can be manipulated by sophisticated software tools such as Photoshop and easily published on the Web. Pepsi is essentially exploiting the Zeitgeist in smart fashion.

And it's been doing well. The company's report of the last quarter showed nice gains in earnings and cash flows, and Anders Bylund's recent Fool on the Street piece presented a lot of positives. Pepsi knows that all these cool stats depend on one thing -- marketing and branding. New images could help in this regard. I, for one, will be looking forward to seeing the frequent changes to the Pepsi can this year. Heck, I wish I had some artistic talent to actually participate.

This initiative might not put an end to the company's competition with its main enemy Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), but it's definitely worth pursuing. In addition to the Big C, Pepsi also competes with Cadbury Schweppes (NYSE:CSG) and all manner of store-brand beverages, so every bit of marketing helps.

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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares of Coca-Cola. As of this writing, he was ranked 9,945 out of 25,493 investors in the CAPS system. Don't know what CAPS is? Check it out. The Fool has a disclosure policy.